First lady of Sierra Leone, Sia Nyama Koroma yesterday official opened the Center for Women empowerment at Peter Lane in Freetown.
The center was funded by Health Education and Relief (HEAR) Foundation based in the United States and implemented by Youth Action International (YAI).
The center strictly caters for women and girls living in Kroobay.
In her speech, Mrs. Koroma said that, she was proud to be at the ceremony not only as the First Lady but as an Ambassador for the deprived and unprivileged women and children in the country.
The First lady called on the beneficiaries to develope the culture of maintenance and sustenance. She admonished the beneficiaries to take care of the center and use it to maximize their potential and to also improve on their skills.
Mrs. Koroma noted that she hoped the venture will be decentralized to the provinces.
Delivering the keynote address, Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Haja Musu Kandeh said that “the event is a historical one and a milestone in the lives of women in Kroobay community”.
She said that, the center will create an impact on the lives of 100 women and will help fulfill a better future of women, adding that the center will also make an impact on the socio economic condition of women.
Haja Kandeh disclosed that her ministry has been promoting women empowerment because we believe that women are the backbone of Sierra Leone.
The center, she said is timely as women have been marginalized and suffered in the past and still continue to suffer, further stating that YAI has wisely picked Kroobay to benefit from it because women there have little opportunity and they are incapacitated by poverty epidemics.
She encouraged HEAR and YAI to open more of these in other slums areas and in the rural areas.
The Minister called on Sierra Leoneans to play their own role and take advantage of the opportunity.
Executive Director of YAI, Kimmie Weeks said that, he was very happy and proud to be in Sierra Leone.
He said that it was an honor for him to open the center which will affect the lives of African people especially women.
The Executive Director pointed out that he has intentions to expand to the provinces, noting that, they are starting with Kroobay community but the YAI program will grow to support the development process in Sierra Leone.
He disclosed that when they went to the Kroobay community, “we saw the constraints of women and the challenges they faced; that’s why we chose that community for women to break the line of poverty.”
Mr. Weeks pointed out that the center will teach women on tailoring, weaving, hairdressing, necklace making, computer studies and will also train them in photography.
Kimmie Weeks stated that the efforts of the beneficiaries is required and they will use them in a proper way to enable them build up their capacity.
Mr. Gregory Antonucci of HEAR Foundation said that his foundation is a non-profit one empowering men, women, and children to follow and fulfill their life’s mission.
Chairman of the Kroobay Community, Morie Alie, disclosed that the population of his community is 10,200 and 85% of them are women who are suffering.
With the intervention of Kimmie Weeks the future of the women will be better and will make them self reliant.
He thanked YAI and HEAR for choosing his community and assured them that their resources will not be futile.
The ceremony was chaired by the Director of youth at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Anthony Koroma who emphasized that the beneficiaries should be proud of Kimmie Weeks.
By Abibatu Kamara & Christiana Cole