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CJ inspires ‘Kayayei’ to become agents of change

The Chief Justice (C J), Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkornoo, has urged Head porters (Kayayei) who are members of the Justice Club not to resign to their fate, but take advantage of opportunities offered them to become agents of change.

That, she explained was the only way they could navigate through their bitter experiences towards achieving their hearts desires and dreams.

The CJ said this when she inaugurated the Justice Club comprising a group of over 100 head porters, popularly referred to as Kayayei or Orange girls, drawn from the Cocoa Marketing Board (CMB) area in Accra.

The occasion was also used to swear in the maiden executives.

The Chief Justice mentoring programme which had been in existence for the past 16 years was first  initiated by  the  retired Chief Justice ,Justice Georgina  Theodora Wood, as part of her efforts  to mentor young boys and girls into becoming  influential people in society.  

The Enhanced Chief Justice’s Mentoring Programme which was the second, was initiated by the current CJ to ensure adequate impartation of knowledge into the virtuous and hardworking young adults.

It also presents a transformative opportunity for the marginalized members to gain “empowerment, education and advocacy skills” to enable them to amplify their voices, and challenge societal norms that perpetuated their marginalization as well as advocate their rights.

The Chief Justice explained that the Club would assist the members to further their education to the University level, and commended the former Chief Justice G. T. Wood for the initiative, and the United Nations Population Fund for supporting the Orange girls programme.

The Club, she stated would also educate them on the laws governing their activities, what to do in order not to infringe on the law as well as avenues to seek redress.

According to Justice Torkornoo a lot of people felt whatever they did was right but the law, she explained did not tolerate that.

“You will learn a lot from the club in order to educate your younger ones because if God has given you an opportunity, you should grab it with your two hands in order not to let it slip,” she added.

The Chair of the CJ’s mentoring Programme, Justice Professor Olivia Anku Tsede, in her remarks said despite the crucial role played by head porters in Ghana’s economy, they continued to face numerous challenges, including exploitation, poor working conditions and social marginalization, adding that joining the club was a vital step towards empowering them.

“The club represents a beacon of hope for out- of -school head porters by equipping them with knowledge, skills and support networks toward breaking that cycle of poverty and marginalization,” she added.

Justice Prof Tsede said six schools in the Greater Accra Region and the Orange girls had been selected to serve as pilots for the formation of the Justice Clubs.

The Programme Officer of the UNFPA, Fisal Bawa, said the extension of the opportunity to the Orange girls would create a platform for them to gain legal literacy, develop and improve their employable skills to help them aspire to greater heights.

He charged the group to make good use of the opportunity, be on time for club activities in order to build themselves, and connect with like-minded individuals.

The President of the club, Asani  Abi, commended the initiators of the programme and promised to rally them to meet their  expectations. 

BY LAWRENCE VOMAFA-AKPALU

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