In view of the prevailing unemployment situation in the country with its attendant increase in crime rate, two Nigerians based in the United States and Germany, respectively, have taken it upon themselves to train about 2,000 youths from their community on different skills.
Mr. John Durumba and Dr. Azubuike Erinugha, conceived the idea about two years ago as their personal contributions to assist indigent community members and indirectly take children away from the streets, discourage drug addiction and make the country a better place in to live.
The project – Nchoke Skills Acquisition Initiative, was named after Nchoke Autonomous Community in Ideato South council of Imo State, and it is expected to gulp about N50 million.
Speaking further about the project, which was officially launched on January 2, Durumba stated that he jointly designed the project in partnership with Dr. Erinugha, in view of the harsh socio-economic challenges confronting the country, especially youths.
He added that although N50 million was the initial budget for the project, the figure can be increased if people of similar vision join in actualizing the project. So far, about 25 youths have been selected for the take-off of the scheme.
Durumba noted that he was motivated by his experience in Europe and America, where the future of youths was planned by respective country’s government.
He said: “I was motivated by what I saw in some countries that I have lived. I have lived in Germany and I saw how the youths were taken care of. I have also been in other parts of the Western world and have realized that the future of the youths is usually planned more than 25 years ahead.
“Even the unborn children are considered in the governments’ plans. They have solid foundations for children so that their future would be secured. So, if we can adequately plan for our children and youths the way they do for theirs, our young ones will compete favourably with their peers across the world.
“I have seen our contributions in different parts of the world, helping to build the economy of those nations.
“But back home, due to adequate planning, many of them are indulging in one crime or the other. Rather than torture them, they should be engaged in skills towards a better future.
“If we fail to keep them busy, they will find something to keep themselves busy, which might be negative. So, there is no better time for the initiative than now”, Durumba added.
He also informed that women were given priority attention in the selection of beneficiaries, stressing that they have proven to be more focused and committed to achieving results.
Also speaking, Dr. Erinugha noted that the programme was initiated to help curb social vices, reduce unemployment rate among the youths of the community by equipping them with necessary skills that would enable them contribute significantly to the overall growth and development of the area.
“Nchoke Skills Acquisition Initiative is a scheme to essentially create greater awareness on entrepreneurship and potential career opportunities for the participants.
“The mandate therefore is to recruit and register participants; organize hand-on sessions with the intent to expose them to skills and entrepreneurial opportunities. These skills are hopeful to build potential careers and other self-development tools towards youth empowerment.”
“The initiative has plans to continue in providing skills opportunities for our youths. Apart from learning new skills that could help them set up future business models, the programme will definitely keep them focused, disciplined and form a solid distraction away from crimes, vices and other destructive peer pressure influences.
The sponsors disclosed that the beneficiaries of the humanitarian gesture would be presented with start-up tools on completion of their trainings to enable them take off seamlessly.
At the launch of the initiative were the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Fidelity Ezewike; Keynote Speaker, Chief Joachim Olumba; monarch of the community, Eze Christopher Obieshi and the President General, Ncheko Community, Barr. Tony Duruzo.
Others are the Programme Manager of the Project, Mrs. Clara Duru; General Secretary, Nchoke Community, Mr. Chigozie Ibeke and renowned Nollywood Actor, Chief Austin Awujor.
“There is nothing you can have that is more meaningful and enduring than a skill. It is as important as life. Even with your education, there is something missing that is monumental if you don’t have a skill. It is important that everyone should acquire skill for self-growth and survival”, said Olumba.
Some of participants – Chidera Uzoma, Chioma Alinor, Chidinma Vincent, Deborah Opara and Daniel Duru, commended he organizers for the gesture and promised not to work hard towards upholding the goals and objectives of the initiative.