Africare News Release



Africare/Angola Celebrates First Graduating Class of Girls’ Vocational Program

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LUANDA, ANGOLA, Feb. 1, 2007 -- February first has a special meaning this year for 60 girls in the Viana Municipality of Luanda. They are the first of 180 students to graduate from a vocational training program that was developed in 2006 to address the educational needs of young girls victimized by Angola’s 30-year civil war — one of the longest civil conflicts on the African continent. Among those expected to attend the landmark graduation are the U.S. ambassador to Angola, Cynthia G. Efird; Angolan Minister of Family Women Promotion, Candida Celeste; and representatives of ExxonMobil and the U.N. agency, UNICEF. The overall aim of the project is to enhance the self-esteem and self-reliance of young women in Angola.

“It’s a big transformation for these girls,” said Dr. Peter Wirsiy, Africare’s health program coordinator for Angola. “They are really studying, getting some activity and getting a value for their life.”

The vocational program is organized into three phases. Phase one includes three months of instruction for the girls in basic literacy, math and domestic arts (including cooking, decorating, sewing, flower preparation and hairstyling). Outside the core courses, instructors focus on promoting life skills like goal setting and healthy relationships, as well as HIV/AIDS awareness and family planning methods. Upon graduation, the girls enter phase two of the program: 45-day internships during which they can practice and utilize their specialized skills. Phase three follows with a 15-day evaluation of their performance. The entire program lasts for one year.

Graduation of the vocational program’s first class of girls will commence at 2:00 p.m. at the Viana Center in the Viana Municipality of Luanda. Classes for the next 60 girls will commence in March 2007.

The Viana Vocational Girls Program was launched in November 2006 as a partnership between Africare, ExxonMobil and the Angolan NGO, Associaco Samuel Brace Coles.


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