March is a month that is all about Women, and what better way to start the month than with a celebration?!

To kick off the International Women’s Day 2021, we are proud to announce the launch of the Yarang Llamisi Vocational Training Centre, the first of its kind, in Zambuk Town of Gombe State, Nigeria.

This endeavour has been a dream that we have nurtured for a long time, and seeing it come to fruition is a momentous occasion! Our joy arrives on the tails of back- breaking work to challenge gender stereotypes that have been held together by cultural beliefs, such as “only men are supposed to work to support their families”. This archaic way of thinking has left many women struggling in abject poverty and many men coping with the mental health issues that come with being weighed down with the burden of providing for the family alone.

At YLF, we have worked with our traditional rulers and along the grain of our cultural institutions to show how the whole community benefits when women are empowered. Starting at the grassroots and championing the value of educating the girl child, we took a step further to address one of the key bottlenecks to the success of girl child education, which is female role models in the community. Young girls need to see other women that are equally

educated and empowered and are seen to add value to their families and the community as a whole.

We know that education is not just formal but informal, and local institutions play a key role in equipping individuals with the tools they need to run successful businesses, participate in politics, and advocate for social change. It is on this foundation that Project Second Chance was laid.

We targeted women with no formal education, primary and high school dropouts, and women who society would write off as not able to add economic value.

We held town hall discussions to get a sense of our community’s need and educated women on necessary entrepreneurial skills to multiply their income and save their profits. We are pleased to announce that based on these interactions, we have opened a free vocational centre where women can learn how to sew, knit and crochet, and make soaps, body moisturizers and handcraft as a start.

We are currently working on implementing other programs like computer literacy, photography, baking, cooking oil production, weaving and more. We fully intend to break the mould and deviate from the kind of vocational training that stereotypes what is acceptable for women, like the ones we just listed, because we know that women can be butchers, mechanics, welders, plumbers and carpenters too! We want this vocational centre to be a beacon of hope in our community and a model for the many more to come. We plan to train trainers so that the centre becomes self-sufficient and sustainable with old students passing down the knowledge they have acquired. We are excited about this new beginning as we believe and have always said that when you empower a woman, you save a village.

We are currently working on implementing other programs like computer literacy, photography, baking, cooking oil production, weaving and more. We fully intend to break the mould and deviate from the kind of vocational training that stereotypes what is acceptable for women, like the ones we just listed, because we know that women can be butchers, mechanics, welders, plumbers and carpenters too! We want this vocational centre to be a beacon of hope in our community and a model for the many more to come. We plan to train trainers so that the centre becomes self-sufficient and sustainable with old students passing down the knowledge they have acquired. We are excited about this new beginning as we believe and have always said that when you empower a woman, you save a village.