Development Aid from People to People (Dapp) has trained 74 adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in technical and entrepreneurial skills.
Speaking on Saturday during a graduation ceremony at Mikolongwe Vocational School in Chiradzulu, Dapp Determined Resilient Empowered Aids-free Mentored and Safe (Dreams) project lead Mary Busiley urged the girls to use the skills to improve their livelihoods.
“Our goal is to see these girls being independent as they prevent themselves from contracting HIV, which causes Aids,” she said.
Busiley said many girls stay idle after finishing school, which leads to risky behaviours that may lead them to contract HIV, get unplanned pregnancies and get into early marriages.
Busiley (R) presents a certificate to one of the girls
Chiradzulu district youth officer Shamim Chabwera said the skills will help the girls to be involved in income generating activities.
“The girls are coming from poor backgrounds and some of them have faced various challenges. The vocational and entrepreneurial skills will help them to either get employment or start their own businesses,” she said.
One of the girls who graduated in motorcycle repairing, Doreen Makweya, said the skills she acquired will help her realise her dream of opening a shop to help the community.
“It is good to be engaged in income generating-generating activities instead of indulging in promiscuous behaviour that may lead to contracting HIV,” she said.
The girls underwent a three-month training in cosmetology [hairdressing], tailoring and fashion design, motorcycle repairing and practical agriculture.
The Dreams project was funded through the United States President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief.