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Business News of Friday, 19 July 2013

Source: Charles Addo/GhanaWeb

Gateway 4 Youth, SCEF educate residents on savings

Accra based Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Gateway 4 Youth and Street Children Empowerment Foundation (SCEF) have built the capacity of parents and guardians in James Town, a deprived community in Accra through microfinance contribution, to undertake income generation ventures to earn a decent living.
The two NGOs started the initiative last year with just thirty parents and guardians of street children to inculcate in them the culture of savings, through which they could receive short-term loans, to expand their businesses.
Unlike the usual savings and loans scheme, this concept is more unique and flexible in terms of contributing, accessing loans and disbursement of dividends.
Mr. Samuel Paulos, Founder and Executive Director of Gateway 4 Youth told Ghanaweb in an interview said bringing the women together to save for one object could help in reducing poverty drastically in the area.
He said instead of young people relying on dubious activities to survive could rather secure their future through petty trading as well as savings.
“The issue is associated to poverty; Gateway 4 Youth try to find a solution that young people are facing today by bringing women and their children out of poverty.
“One way we can do this is to engage them in microfinance programme, and this has strongly proved its worth to changing the lives of parents and their children through education to become an asset for this country,” Mr Paulos stressed.
Despite all the time invested in the operations of the project, Mr Paulos has, on several occasions, contributed financially to ensure the smooth running of the scheme.
seme On his part, the Executive Director of SCEF, Mr. Paul Semeh, said the impact of the microfinance programme is evident in the lives of parents/guardians who previously did not have stable trades, but now have profitable businesses as a result of the loans they accessed.
“Women are now waiting for their share of dividends to inject into existing trade or as capital to start other businesses. This, we believe, will financially empower parents to take up their responsibilities.
SCEF believes that savings towards one's future is the ultimate in times of emergencies and more importantly children’s education.
Parents who took this programme seriously we gathered did so because they are met with financial challenges which made life unbearable.
They are full of praise for this initiative, which has come to help reduce poverty and make them financially stable,” Mr. Semeh added.
He disclosed that SCEF has enrolled many streets children in main stream schools and the NGO conducts constant monitoring and evaluation, to ensure that poverty in James Town and its environs do not deprive innocent and vulnerable children of the basic right to education.
Besides, SCEF has also enrolled a number of young women to learn trades like beads making, bakery and other trades.
During this short period, the activities of the two NGOs in James Town have gained commendation from opinion leaders `and have been visited by renowned organizations such as UNICEF represented by Johanna Eriksson Takyo (Chief: Child Protection Program)and Amelia Allan (Secretary).

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