The Rahama Centre, Yola
During the Yola Diocesan Assembly in 1995 a strong appeal was made that something should be done about the plight of the many young girls who were migrating from the rural areas into Yola city looking for work and money. Most of them were illiterate and were spending their time in the local 'hotels' and beer parlours and had no means of livelihood.
The Mercy Sisters offered to do something about the situation. In September 1996 a survey was carried out to try and establish what were the felt needs of the young women in the area. They needed some handwork skills that would bring in an income and also basic literacy skills. Local market women also wished to learn basic literacy skills in the evenings after their work.
Women at a Reading Class
The programme started in January 1997 with knitting, crocheting, and cookery classes and lectures on food, nutrition and personal hygiene. English and Hausa classes were added by degrees with typing classes for those who were able. Programmes for AIDS awareness and sexually transmitted diseases were also included in the programme.
Nigerian Women enjoying their classes
As the numbers grew, it was necessary to have a purpose-built centre for the programme to expand and to accommodate the needs of the participants. With assistance from the Bishop of the Diocese and the Mercy Sisters, the Rahama Centre for Women was opened in September 1999.