UNHCR launches vocational training programme for Afghan and Pakistani youth in Balochistan
22 February 2017
QUETTA: The UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) country Representative in Pakistan, Indrika Ratwatte together with the Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON), Lt. General (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch is on a three-day mission in Quetta, where they inaugurated a Skill Development Programme (SDP) on Wednesday.
UNHCR country representative is accompanied by the Country Representative of UNICEF, Angela Kearney; Chief Commissioner Afghan Refugees, Dr. Imran Zeb and other heads of UN agencies at provincial level. The visiting delegation also met speaker provincial assembly and acting Governor Raheela Durrani.
Under the SDP, over 200 Afghan and Pakistani youth will be trained with marketable skills over the next three months in Quetta, Pishin, Killa Abdullah, Loralai and Killa Saifullah. Vocational training will be offered to young women and men in professions, including beauticians, tailors, plumbers, electricians, stone masons and fridge, mobile phone, solar panel repair technicians.
The skills development programme is part of the UNHCR’s Refugee Affected and Hosting Area (RAHA) initiative. The project costing Rs. 30 million (USD 300,000) will train over 700 young people up to the age of 25 years old in all four provinces.
Indrika Ratwatte in his interaction with different stakeholders in Balochistan, reiterated UNHCR’s commitment to continue supporting Pakistan, especially in the sector of skills development and education for youth. He said: “Youngsters are the agents of change, by providing equal opportunities to local and refugee youth, we are preparing them to build a brighter future for their home countries and for themselves.”
Minister Baloch appreciated UNHCR’s efforts for empowering Afghan and Pakistani youth. He called upon the international community to extend more support to Pakistan for hosting the world’s largest protracted refugee population and to enable sustainable voluntary return to Afghanistan. He said: “The world cannot afford to fail the new generation of refugee youth who have great potential be become successful individuals and play constructive role for peace building in the world.”
Mr Ratwatte on Friday, 24 February will also handover to the Secretary Education (Acting) Shan ul Haq a set of classroom and laboratory furniture for some forty-five primary and secondary schools in Quetta.
The delegation will also visit the Proof of Registration Card Modification (PCM) Centre in Quetta and attend an interactive meeting with Afghan refugee elders.