By George Onah
Port Harcourtâ€”No fewer than 319 nursery schools are to be built in all the designated wards of the 23 local government areas of Rivers State.
The project aims at affording high quality start-up education for children in the rural areas of the state.
The Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI), established by the wife of the state governor, Dame Judith Amaechi , said children in the rural areas only have access to low quality education or no education at all, explaining that the schools would be staffed by well trained teachers.
Speaking at a round table gathering, Monday, on the International Literacy Day 2009, Amaechi said an initial set of 300 students have already being admitted, adding that the start-up education would enable the children to, in future, face the challenges of poverty, diseases, crime, illiteracy, violence and other vices.
Represented by the administrator of ESI, Mr. Nowa Omoregbe, the governorâ€™s wife said the vision of the outfit â€œis to reverse economic disadvantages of the rural poor, put food on their table and increase productivity by sharpening their skills, which will in turn put money in the hands of manyâ€.
According to her, the goal is to achieve poverty reduction, sustainable self employment and accelerated community and economic growth, while ESI pursues its objective through skill acquisition programs, small scale industry off-take support scheme and healthcare programs.
Amaechi said:Â â€œESI perceives vocational training and skill acquisition as a viable means towards empowering the target segment to be economically independent. To this end, various skill workshops are scheduled to hold in Rivers State.
Till date, ESI has trained about 2000 women and youths in the area of soap making, while in the area of fashion design, about 500 will soon commence training.
It is also involved in helping women and youths who have the requisite skills to earn a living but do not have initial capital to set up their own businesses.