The Netlib Vocational Training Institute has received international guests as its regular program begins orientation today. However the school is still calling on the government of Liberia to assist with some financial aid in order to buttress its effort in providing quality skills and encourage self sustainability.
The institution was set up in the Netherlands in 2003 as an entity but was re-established since 2009 in Liberia and is project oriented. Meanwhile, three of its partners are visiting the country from the Netherlands to assess the logical needs and assist the school in the maintenance of the mechanic garage now being incorporated into the school’s curriculum.
Speaking with the founder of the institute, Abdullah Kamara, he said from the onset, the training institute offered carpentry, masonry, tailoring, cosmetology, catering, advance computer and adult literacy as a charity initially to help take ex-combatants from the streets. He said within the past four years, they have graduated about 500 students.
Mr. Kamara added that to ensure that the school becomes self-sustainable and continue running, it is his hope that the government sees it as a community effort and step in to keep it operational.
Netlib is situated in Congo Town and accepts people with common sense and at least with basic education or formal writing and reading skills for those engaging in advance computer. For the first time in the history of the institution it will be offering auto mechanic without subsidy.
Netlib has over the years enrolled students who are motivating and as the enrolment grows, it is observed that many single parents are enrolled including older people basically to have at least some kind of skills for livelihood.
One of the visiting partners, an instructor and student supervisor at the ROC Van Twente Community College in Holland, Rene Heupink said Liberian students are motivative as compared to those in Holland and that he wants students in the country to know that they are ministers of their own lives.
Chief Mechanic of the Bolk Transport Company in the Netherlands, Henk Voortman said Liberia has prospects for business and opportunities to open investments and therefore urged the students to remain focused so that someday when the opportunity avails itself they can be inclusive.
Bolk Managing Director, Joop Savenije said their visit to Liberia is to see the lapses and engage young people in Liberia as well as in Holland to have shared learning experiences especially in the area of auto mechanics urging the management to have locals who will assist with the instructional aspects.
So far, the partners are looking forward to installing a satellite to help reduce the electrical aspect and reduce the high cost of electricity.
To date, Netlib has one female director, Edna Hutchinson who said the institution currently runs two sessions. A seven-month project seeks to enroll about 300 students while the regular program runs for six to nine months.
Madam Hutchinson encouraged the community dwellers to take advantage of the institution’s training programs offered to reduce poverty and build their skills to be self employed. Already, the institution is carrying out a massive community awareness including radio shows as well as community outreach.
Mr. Kamara is a former commissioner at the Liberia Telecommunication Authority and runs his private business in Congo Town which is empowering several persons and helping to bring relief to several households.