At least 143 youths, between the ages of 10 and 18, obtained certificates in various vocational disciplines including carpentry, masonry, and welding, pastry, tailoring, tie-dye and arts and crafts.
The 11-month cycle training was provided by the Child Advocacy and Rehabilitation (CAR) project organized by the Liberia National Red Cross Society with funding from the Spanish Red Cross.
The sixth-cycle graduation ceremony took place on November 30, 2010, at the CAR skills training center located in Brewerville.
Giving the summary of the CAR project, the coordinator of CAR project Madie Reeves-Fully, told the audience that CAR enrolled 150 war-affected children from selected communities including New Kru Town, Demeh, Po River Logan Town, and Clara Town participated in the training program.
Madam Reeves-Fully indicated that the selection was done in line with set criteria. She narrated that some of the children may have participated in the war either as a fighter, looter, or load bearer while some may have been subjected to violence acts such as rape, torture among others.
She added that the project seeks to provide basic vocational skills to war-affected children.
As a result of the war, she observed that most of the children may not have had formal educational opportunities.
The CAR project coordinator indicated that it was based on those reasons that the entity decided to train such children in various vocational disciplines to meet up with the economic and other challenges the nation is faced with.
Madam Reeves-Fully mentioned that before the commencement of the training, the children were given psychosocial counseling services.
She disclosed that the CAR has packaged a consignment of working tools for participants of the training to engage in individual projects.
Additionally, she said, after the training program, the children are given formal education and placed back in school with a complete back to school package which include one semester tuition fees at any public school of their choice. Other items to be given while going back to school are; copy books, pens and pencils, book bag, a pair of shoes, and uniforms.
Addressing the graduates, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) head of delegation Karin Hofmann encouraged the youth to practice what they have learned in the rebuilding of the country.
She challenged the youth to go out and demonstrate to the world that they have acquired basics skills to improve themselves and contribute positively to the society.
Madam Hofmann expressed optimism that the graduating youth will not fail in the task given them and will continue to follow the humanitarian principles and values of the Red Cross Movement and apply them daily.
The values and principles of the Red Cross Movement are to help and protect life and human dignity, to show respect for the human being, for each other and to foster mutual understanding, friendship and lasting peace.
She pointed out that professional and well-targeted care can help children recover, and help them cease to be victims, and support for them to take possession of their lives.
She further commended the Children Advocacy and Rehabilitation project of the Liberian Red Cross Society, the ICRC's strong partner in Liberia for their financial and technical supports and such an important project in favour of the Liberian youth.
She noted that children are vulnerable in armed conflicts despite the protection provided by law in many countries and much remains to be done throughout the world to protect children and make sure they are safe and well in the event of conflict.
CAR is a project of the Liberia National Red Cross Society. The center was started as a result of the 14 years of civil war in the country during which children were used by the fighting forces different ways. It aim is to help transform those war affected children from their state of trauma to a more positive outlook in the society. All learning materials including tuition and text books are issued free of charge to beneficiaries. CAR has graduated 1043 war affected children since 2005-2010 with a ratio of 432 boys to 611 girls.