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Female migrants return home to make a living

BY: N.Y. Sasaraku
Most girls who migrate to the cities end up as female porters (kayayei) in the central business districts of Accra and other cities.

A number of young and energetic people from the north, continue to migrate to the south, due to what they describe as economic and social challenges.

They are, however, confronted with a lot of problems in the cities, and most of them, especially the ladies, become vulnerable and suffer violations such as rape and other social challenges and that makes them seek the services of men for protection, since they mostly sleep in open places.

Dismayed by the conditions of seeking shelter in open places at the mercy of the weather and other life- threatening situations in the cities, four young girls; Miss Latifa

Mohamed, Miss Zaharawu Mohammed, Miss Mariam Yahaya and Miss Rubaba Iddrisu, who hail from the Karaga District of the Northern Region, have returned home and have built a solid career for themselves and their families.

Making a living

They are earning a living through mobile phone repairs, a trade perceived to be reserved for men, especially in rural areas.

Fifteen-year-old Zaharawu said she was deceived by the looks of some friends who had returned from Accra to celebrate the Eid ul fitr at Karaga.

“I told my parents I will no longer attend school but will join my friends to Accra to go and work and earn some money… my parents obliged,” she said.

Although she regrets making that decision, her story is now different as she earns between GH¢150 and GH¢ 200 a week through her mobile phone repair service. Aside that

she also trades in maize and use the proceeds to support her parents and younger siblings in school.

Role models
The four ladies are recognised as role models in the town and are ready to help other young girls. Zaharawu, for instance, has successfully convinced about five girls who have returned home and are receiving training in sewing while one is her apprentice.

Five hundred and sixty-two other youngsters, aged 15 to 24 in the Karaga District, have received training for various skills and set up in bicycle repairs, mobile telephone repairs, motorbike repairs, sewing machine engineering, as well as financial literacy and business management skill trainings under the livelihood empowerment programme being implemented by the Northern Sector Action on Awareness Centre (NORSAAC), a Tamale-based non-governmental organisation.

Livelihood opportunities
The Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development officer at NORSAAC, Mr Mohammed Ukasha, explained that unemployment rate and the lack of livelihood opportunities in the Northern Region and the country at large, had contributed to a large extent problems such as rural-urban migration, leading to the operations by kayayei in the cities, teenage pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and poverty.

He said the project, funded by Empower, USA, seeks to support out-of-school young people to be equipped with skills to earn decent income and live a life of dignity without having to engage in any action that would endanger their lives.

-A GNA special feature