The Ivory Coast as you may know has been through a turbulent political period. After elections last year, a violent four-month power struggle and war ensued that displaced an estimated one million people. Businesses and life as normal were disrupted and overturned. Banks, shops, money wiring establishments were all closed. Thankfully, the situation is now under control and the UN is appealing for rapid restoration of order (see link to article). We are grateful to God for sparing the lives of our ladies during this recent war. Some of the ladies in the group travelled to safer zones with the help of their embassies and government officials. Our director was robbed of her cell phone. Unfortunately the businesses of the beneficiaries were also affected when the rebels entered the city. It was impossible to receive supplies of goods from wholesalers - due to imposed embargo and road blocks from agricultural provinces where rebels were in charge. There was constant threat against certain foreign nationals and citizens, which made it unsafe in their market places. Some of our ladies were also constantly harassed while selling their goods. Some of their debtors fled the country without settling their bills. Since the end of the crisis, three of the ladies are struggling to get their businesses back on their feet because of the scarcity of people in our area. Others are faced with limited finances and goods to pick up from where they left off. The outreach teams have made two visits to our recruitment sites to check on the welfare of our ladies and start the selection process for potential participants for our upcoming training project in September 2011. Eighteen of these ladies are still in the area and they are living under difficult conditions. We have assessed the situation and 12 of these ladies are willing to participate in our September education program, while others long to travel out of Ivory Coast in search of greener pastures. In these tough times, as people work towards restoring their lives and businesses, the importance of the training and support that we together help to provide cannot be overemphasized. In my reading and research, an article on technical and vocational training caught my attention:Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) has emerged as one of the most effective human resource development strategies that African countries need to embrace in order to train and modernize their technical workforce for rapid industrialization and national development.TVET will play continue to play an important and increasing role - particularly now as the country tries to get back on its feet. We are definitely on the right track and welcome your support as we help these ladies get back on their feet. Thanks for your support!
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