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Soros to give $1 million to World ORT

George Soros will give $1 million to World ORT to help the international network of Jewish vocational schools build up its program to help Liberia’s ex-child soldiers.

From World ORT’s website:

ORT IC’s Liberian Youth Training and Employment project will directly help 1,000 people – young people who simply missed out on school because of the wars as well as ex-combatants – in six rural districts gain vital practical skills through an apprenticeship scheme. But the project stands to benefit countless more people by helping to improve training and employability throughout the whole country.

"We’re working on a micro-level but the overall goal is to develop a national framework for standards, certifications and training," said the Director of ORT IC’s Washington bureau, Celeste Angus, on her return from a highly successful trip to Liberia where she set up the terms of reference for the project with partners and stakeholders – OSI, USAID and the Core Education Skills for Liberian Youth (CESLY) programme which it funds, the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Education, the World Bank and the International Labor Organisation (ILO).

An ORT IC expert is in Liberia this week to lay the groundwork for implementing the year-long programme, which will also provide business development support so that businesses can be in a position to hire the apprentices they are currently helping to train.

During the war, schools were closed and teachers killed so USAID’s CESLY programme is providing young men with a primary education. But the programme only goes up to the 6th grade – and vocational education programmes require participants to have reached 9th grade.

"ORT will work in partnership with CESLY to fill the gap," Ms Angus said. "We will provide support and training to both the apprentices and small businesses over a 12-month period in six rural districts, there already being more opportunities for people in the capital, Monrovia," Ms Angus said.

For an entertaining, informative and R-rated backgrounder on the situation in Liberia, check out Vice Magazine’s video series.

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