What started as a Creative Arts Club at Gomoa Dago in the Central Region in 2010, where some members made slippers out of cardboards and A4 Sheets, has now become a leather work training centre to train the youth in the area to make real sandals and shoes.
This is the result of a partnership between Compassion International, Ghana, a Christian child sponsorship organisation, and the Dago Wesley Methodist Church under their flagship project, the Dago Methodist Child Development Centre.
With the first 30 trainees almost done with their six months course, the leather work training centre, stocked with equipment, is expected to create jobs for the youth and alleviate poverty in the fishing communities of the Gomoa West District.
Speaking at the inauguration, of the centre, the Country Director of Compassion International, Ghana Mr. Padmore Baffour Agyapong, said the NGO was committed to supporting the less privileged and would continue to show compassion.
He said depending on the sustainability of the centre, it would be equipped and transformed into a large scale leather work production centre with the over 68,000 beneficiaries of the NGO across the country as its ready market.
He espoused the importance of entrepreneurship and called on parents, the church, Government and all stakeholders to give the centre the needed support to achieve its objectives, pledging that the NGO would not relent in its efforts.
Very Reverend William Alfred Nyamekeh, said the passion with which the members of the arts club made the paper slippers, motivated the Child Development Centre to engage a leather work trainer to train 20 interested members in the art with local resources in 2012.
He said the leadership of the centre in their quest to find solutions to numerous challenges in the area, including poor fishing harvest in the predominantly fishing community, poverty and its associated problems, decided to expand the training so more people could benefit.
He expressed optimism that the centre would make great impact as some of the trainers have started making their own shoes and therefore called on Government to support to enable the community derive the needed benefits.
Since the partnership began in 2009, Compassion International has 353 assisted beneficiaries in the area. They receive free medical care, educational materials, and school fees, among others while some parents and caregivers are also given support.
By Jonathan Donkor, Gomoa Dago