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Two NGOs launch project to reintegrate returnees from Gulf countries

BY: Zadok Kwame Gyesi
Some of the returnees and officials at the launch of the project in a group photo after the launch of the project
Some of the returnees and officials at the launch of the project in a group photo after the launch of the project

Migration Watch and Skilled Revolution Front in collaboration with the Open Society Initiative For West Africa (OSIWA), both non-governmental organisations (NGOs), has rolled out a programme to train Ghanaian female migrant returnees from the Gulf countries in technical and vocational skills in order to help with their reintegration.

The project, dubbed: “Support to female migrant domestic workers’ resilience and social protection, pre and post COVID-19 pandemic,” which will run for a one-year period, is expected to benefit one hundred female returnees.

Launch

Speaking at the launch of the project in Accra on Friday, March 19, 2021, the Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer of Migration Watch and Skilled Revolution Front, Mr Ato Amoah, urged female migrant returnees to acquire vocational and technical training in order to enable become their own employers.

He said many Ghanaian female migrants in the Gulf countries were put through ordeal experiences, leading to the death of some of them while others suffer unimaginable physical injuries.

The Director in charge of Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President, Mr Akwasi Awuah Ababio (middle) cutting the tape to launch the project

For him, there was no need for one to seek greener pastures anywhere since people could make life in Ghana with vocational and technical training.

"The perception of greener pastures does not exist in our time for which reason, it is better and proper to engage ourselves in entrepreneurship and other technical-based vocation and practical skills to live independent lives," Mr Amoah noted.

He admonished people not to be lured into embarking on perilous journeys, particularly to the Gulf countries with the hope of seeking greener pastures.

Essence of the project

Touching on the project which was launched on the theme: “Curbing irregular migration via technical and vocational education and training, and advocacy,” Mr Amoah said the project would help the returnees from the Gulf countries to properly integrate since they would be given the needed vocational and technical training and logistics to start their own businesses.

He said prior to the launch of the project, when people returned from the Gulf countries, they were only given transportation fair to their various towns and communities, hence leaving nothing for the returnees to start their lives well and reintegrate properly.

He expressed the hope that the project would be extended to males, who formed the larger portion of returnees.

Mr Amoah said so far over 3,000 returnees had applied to be enrolled onto the project but the NGO would only be able to absorb 100 due to resource constraints.

Immigration

Speaking at the event, Superintendent Alberte Ampofo from the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), admonished people who would want to travel to due diligence before embarking on such journeys, since they could be lured by traffickers with juicy offers.

She said even though the Human Smuggling and Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Immigration Service continue to educate and sensitise people on the activities of traffickers, many people who were bent on travelling put deaf ears to such education until they travel and face the realities on the ground.

She expressed the hope that the project would help to equip the returnees with some skills that would enable them to start their lives all over again, pointing out that many of the returnees after going through ordeals in the Gulf countries “end up coming home with nothing.”

Govt efforts

In her remarks, Madam Sena Owusu-Gibson, a representative from the Human Trafficking Secretariat of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, encouraged the returnees to take the training programme seriously, noting that technical and vocational training is the way to go in terms of creating employment opportunities for the youth.

“There is nothing like having a skill and using that skill to drive your life,” she said, adding that the Ministry was ready to provide any needed assistance to the returnees to help them with their integration.

She, however, encouraged the returnees to build social support network so that they would not be tempted to travel again to the Gulf countries.

The Director in charge of Diaspora Affairs at the Office of the President, Mr Akwasi Awuah Ababio, said government through its various agencies was working to provide a conducive environment to enable Ghanaian youth to make decent living here in the country than travelling overseas, particularly to the Gulf countries.

For him, technical and vocational training was key in creating opportunities for the youth, urging the youth to take advantage of the various opportunities existing in the country.