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Thursday, November 23, 2006

MTN partners Lady Mechanic on training for girls

MTN Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of the MTN Nigeria, has entered into partnership with a non-profit organisation, the Lady Mechanic Initiative, to train girls on the job.

Executive Director, MTN Foundation Mrs Amina Oyagbola, disclosed this and said that MTN is supporting the Lady Mechanic Initiative financially to facilitate free vocational skills in auto care to young Nigerian women.

The project, a collaboration of MTN Foundation and chief executive, Sandex Autocare, Mrs Sandra Aguebor, is popularly known as “Lady Mechanic,” began recently with a two-day road show across Lagos, was to sensitize the target beneficiaries of the offer, even as its expected turn-out about 50 capable lady mechanics, refrigerator, pumping machine and generator technicians, plumbers and sundry artisans.

Beneficiaries, Mrs Oyagbola said, would be granted micro credits to open their own workshops or given employment by reputable autocare centres on completion of their training.

The collaboration, described as a veritable vehicle designed to rehabilitate and empower deprived and disadvantaged young women by equipping them with skills traditionally perceived as the men’s affair.

Put succinctly, the Lady Mechanic Initiative is targeted at school dropouts and other young women involved in illicit trades as well as those who have either been abused or lost hope for a better life or career.

According to Mrs Oyagbola, also disclosed that the project has three stages, namely community outreach, induction, training and franchise set-up.

“We are concerned about society’s most vulnerable; people who have been denied the luxury of hope. The MTN Foundation wants to re-assure them that it is not over yet for them as long as they are willing to learn a trade. The Foundation is prepared to assist them in getting a career,” she said.

Emphasising that beneficiaries of the programme have an option to decide the length of time of their apprenticeship.

“In the first year, beneficiaries shall learn about auto servicing, lubrication and brake systems.
Following this, they can be employed in filling stations to service cars. In the second year, they will be taught vehicle suspension and diagnostics after which they can be employed in auto care garages. Then in the third year, beneficiaries will have the opportunity to set up a micro business of their own which will be a franchise of the Lady Mechanic Initiative,” Oyagbola explained.

In her remarks, the Lady Mechanic, Mrs Aguebor, said the idea was to reach out to young women in densely populated parts of Lagos and demonstrate to them that they could earn an honest and profitable living as mechanics and technicians.

“The Lady Mechanic Initiative and MTN Foundation are determined to restore hope in the hopeless. I am a lady mechanic but my job has not taken the glamour away from me. That is what we want young Nigerian women to know. That they can be anything they want and still remain beautiful,” Aguebor said.

Successful applicants to the scheme will be trained at Peugeot Association of Nigeria, (PAN) Kaduna, General Motors, Lagos and several other pay-and-train centres in Lagos.

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