By Sam Eyoboka
THE United Nations, at its General Assembly in November 2014, declared July 15 as World Youth Skills Day because young people are almost three times more likely to be un-employed than adults and conti-nuously exposed to lower quality of jobs, greater labour market inequalities, and longer and more insecure school-to-work transit-ions. In addition, women are more likely to be underemployed and under-paid, and to undertake part-time jobs or work under tem-porary contracts.
That is why education and train-ing are key determinants of success in the labour market. But unfortunately, existing systems are failing to address the learning needs of many young people, and surveys of learning outcomes and skills show that a large number of youth have low levels of achieve-ment in basic literacy and numer-acy. Skills and jobs for youth feature prominently in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Develop-ment, and SDG target 4.4 calls for a substantial increase in the num-ber of youth and adults who have relevant skills.
Here’s a message from Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General: “On this World Youth Skills Day, let us renew our resolve to invest more in empowering young peo-ple. When we do, they can better advance the broader mission of the UN for lasting peace, sustain-able development and human rights for all.”
In celebration of the UN initiati-ve, World Youth Skills Day 2017, the Word of Life Bible Church in collaboration with its Eagle Flight Micro Finance Bank Limited, Sunday, August 20, 2017, empowered 11 persons who have received enough education and training in different skills to build their future career.
The church last December 26, extended its annual empowerment programme, which is part of the vision to build and equip the people that will build nations, to include skill acquisition for eco-nomic development of young peo-ple living in poor communities of the Niger Delta.
The guest preacher on Day 20 of this year’s Let God Arise program-me, Apostle Tim Gbasha was stun-ned when the managing director of Eagle Flight Micro Finance Bank Limited, Mr. Anthony Okonofua called out Messrs Fischer Ogugu, Imonina Blessed, Akposire Esujumi, Bigla Samuel and Hannah Aghoghovwo, at the completion of their training pro-gramme in fishery, to receive a certificate and Combo starter packs.
Four persons, Joy Oberhiri Akpan, Anthonia Jenkins Oghene-tega, Adams Helen Ajirioghene and Numa Victoria Nyerhovwo, and two others—Ojulu Esimaje Eunice and Edafe Akpevoghene Merit—who took part in the train-ing in fashion and design for women and make over for women respectively also graduated and benefited from the wonderful lifetime opportunity and went home with certificates and a sewing machines complete with all accessories.
Presenting the graduands to the former CAN president, His Emi-nence, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and his wife, Pastor Helen Oritsejafor for awards, Mr. Okonofua recalled that on December 26, 2016, the church in collaboration with the bank, gave out three cars, 15 tricycles and 100 grinding machines without any obligation on the part of the beneficiaries as part of its annual corporate social responsibility.
“And for the first time, five major skill acquisition training was included and 25 persons were given the opportunity to be trained in various sustainable skills. Their training packages also included Combo Starter Packs for each of the participants. The training for the various skills started in Jan-uary 2017 and three out of the five skills have completed their train-ing sessions,” he said, noting that fashion design for men and allum-inum fabrication will run for one and two years respectively.
Responding on behalf of the graduands, Mr. Fischer Ogugu appreciated Eagle Flight Micro Finance Bank Limited, commend-ed the Word of Life Bible Church, Warri led by Papa and Mama Ayo Oritsejafor.
“I have always used every occ-asion to commend the noble work these two institutions have been doing to empower people in this state. I have always said that other churches should emulate Word of Life Bible Church.
“I am also worried that some of the past beneficiaries of Word of Life empowerment programmes do not come back to give their testimonies and how such em-powerment has helped to assist other people in the society and thank the visioners of the pro-gramme for helping to eliminate poverty in the state.
The matriarch of the mission, Pastor (Mrs.) Helen Oritsejafor, in an interview, expressed gratitude to God for the enablement to pro-vide a platform for the beneficiar-ies, “because life is full of cha-llenges. We should need someone who will believe in you and trust you to assist you in moving on in life.
“With this training and the vocation that they have been empowered with, it’s my expect-ation that they will utilize it judiciously to their own benefit. This is not the time to buy ‘to match, to match’ as we call it in Delta State…This is the time to deploy the money and make it speak for you and grow the busi-ness…whether you have a fish pond with 500 fingerlings. The whole essense of this is for you to sell it, buy more and continue to grow.
“I wish them all the best. I am really excited by what I have seen today,” she stated, adding “life is not about you as an individual. Rather life is about you reaching out to many people as possible and making something beautiful out of them.”
Continuing, Mrs. Oritsejafor said: “My husband and I believe in empowering people because we believe that life is not just what God has given to us but as many people as God can help us to lift to the glory of our God. But you know there are some people, you bless them; they just use the money on themselves and they keep coming because they are unable to use the opportunity to their advantage.
“I frown at such people, but the active poor in our midst when they are empowered they go out and empower others because they are able to utilize that opportunity for their advancement and grow their business and position themselves for greater things in life. And that is my prayer for these ones. By the grace of God, five years to come, these ones would have been count-ed among the millionaires in this state,” she stated.
According to the woman of God, life is all about fruits “and the fruits you do not put on the ground will definitely weather irrespective of much money you have. It’s your ability to manage what you have that will propel you to greater heights in life…even if it one Naira. If you save one Naira everyday, in one year, go check how much it will be.”
She stressed that life is not about taking, “it’s all about giving. But before you can give, you have to develop where you are to allow be-come a blessing.”
His Eminance Pastor Oritsejafor told our correspondent, that the Church has a responsibility to uplift the living standards of poor people in the society because we represent Christ here on earth. We are the Body, He is the head. He is no longer here physically…if you say Jesus, who is Jesus? Jesus is the Church. So the Church has a responsibility to help men and women learn how to fish, have something doing and be able to feed themselves, pay their rents, do things for themselves in addi-tion to preparing them to go to heaven.
“It’s very vital. So, if a church is not doing this, I think it is wrong. This is something I have pledged and vowed to God, not to continue to just preach to people, but give them an opportunity to live life and live it fully. This is why the church is very involved in people’s lives.
“If you have nothing to break the fast and you have not broken the fast you can’t do any reason-able evangelism. So, the joy of evangelism comes when you have something to do with your hands. The Church has become very responsible. That’s why we have the micro finance bank, school and other social respon-sibility stuff and do all the things we are doing. We give people the opport-unity and in a few years time, you will begin to understand the great-ness of Word of Life Bible Church. It’s a great church. Free medical service every Sunday with doctors and nurses to attend to you.
“All these we are doing, but people do not understand. All that people are saying, is that we are eating people’s money. No! We are reaching out and touching lives,” Oritsejafor maintained, stressing that “pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted.”