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Developing skills and providing employment opportunities for youth in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka 18 November 2010 – Marking the 21st anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Youth Affairs Ministry and UNICEF joined hands in a 50 million rupee project to help develop skills and provide employment opportunities for youth in conflict affected areas.

More than 850 youths, including those released from rehabilitation centres, will benefit from vocational training courses and on-the-job training in their chosen field.

Speaking about the project the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Vocational Training Authority, Dhammika Hewapathirana said: “We are thankful to UNICEF for their collaboration on this initiative which will help the reintegration of children and youth in the north”.

Career guidance and psychosocial support will also be provided as part of the project and special priority will be given to girls and women and those with disabilities.

“This project will give hope and open new opportunities to the most vulnerable youth in the north,” said UNICEF Representative, Reza Hossaini.

Owing to the conflict, recruitment by armed groups, and displacement, many children and youth dropped out of school and missed completing their formal education.

This initiative which will help youth in Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya and Mannar, was made possible through the generous contributions of UNICEF France and the Governments of the United Kingdom and Denmark.

Conceptualized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs, Commissioner General of Rehabilitation and UNICEF, the project will include the following components: Establishment of muti-tech vocational training centres; 9 vocational training courses; 14 short courses; Career guidance; On-the-job training and trade certificates; Psychosocial support; and Study materials, monthly allowances and transportation.

The CRC was signed by the Government of Sri Lanka in 1990 and was later ratified in July 1991.

UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

For more information, please contact:
Mr. C. R. Samaraweera, Assistant Director, Vocational Training Authority 
Tel + 071 826 9032

Suzanne Davey , Communication Officer, UNICEF
Tel + 077 316 5378




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