Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Chief Justice Mentoring Program for Young People

7 June 2017
Kakayei presenting thier citation to the  CJ
The 2017 Chief Justice mentoring programme for young people was held in Accra on the 23rd to 24th May 2017 and as usual the head porters popularly known in Ghana as Kayayei were included in the programme.  Her Ladyship Georgina Theodora Wood, who met the young people for the last time before retirement, said it has been joy interacting with the youth on an annual basis for the past 10 years. The 2017 edition marks the 10th anniversary of mentoring. Addressing the gathering, Her Ladyship Theodora Wood said “Our generation bears the burden of molding the life of the youth and it is a duty we should discharge with honour and dignity.”  She was particularly grateful to UNFPA for facilitating the participation of the out of school young women and prompted the crowd to recognize the “young ladies in orange,” who are head porters. 
For the first time in ten years, the mentoring programme was extended to the second arm of government; the legislature. The students and orange ladies had the opportunity to engage some members of parliament as well as take the seats of both majority and minority in the house. Speakers from the judiciary, legislature and business world interacted with the participating youth as role models. Another notable change was a wider door that has been opened to the marginalized Youth. 
An Orange Lady and a participant in the 2017 programme Rebecca Issahaku said, “I work in Makola Market and see the students and lawyers on a daily basis since the law school is just here, but the closest I have come is to carry ‘load’ for someone who has parked his or her car in the yard. I never dreamt of entering any of the rooms here, let alone interacting with people who are highly placed until now.  I was recruited into this programme by our gate keeper who asked whether I had completed SHS and wanted to continue from where I stopped. I completed SHS but I am working in the market because I couldn’t find a job. I don’t want to carry kaya (load). I want to further my education and do something good with my life. I am willing re-write exams on papers in which I did not do well so I can step confidently into the future.
UNFPA Acting Representative Erika Goldson said UNFPA’s interest in the CJ’s Mentoring Program is to give equal opportunity to the vulnerable young girls so as to increase their access to decision-making processes that affect them, and to strengthen their ability to advance human rights in development issues such as health, education, and employment. The UNFPA expects the CJ’s Mentoring Program to not only be a platform to increase legal awareness that enables young women to make decisions over their bodies, communities and countries, but also to provide them with a chance to broaden the scope of their future aspirations. Ms Goldson emphasized that supporting the Orange Ladies and encouraging them to go back to school will further protect the rights of the most vulnerable and marginalized. She concluded by assuring everyone present that UNFPA will continue to help improve the lives women and girls.  
The Orange Ladies presented a citation to her Ladyship for the opportunity given them. In total, a hundred and ten Kayaei who have completed senior high secondary school and drawn from Techiman, Kumasi and Accra have benefited from this programme.