Forty women have graduated from the Class of 2021 Batch B of the Women Empowerment Project Scheme Synergy (WEPSS), a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of INTELS Nigeria Limited.
WEPSS was established by INTELS in 2013 to empower 5,000 community women over a 20-year period through training in fashion design and tailoring.
The beneficiaries are trained in two batches every year. Since inception eight years ago, about 1,500 women drawn from various communities across the country have benefited from the empowerment scheme.
During the graduation ceremony held on Wednesday at the WEPSS Training Centre, Federal Lighter Terminal, Onne Port on Wednesday, INTELS also donated 1,000 garments to Engraced Life Foundation, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to supporting girls and women in their fight against breast cancer.
The garments were presented by the managing director of INTELS Nigeria Limited, Mr. Pasquale Fiore, to the Founder of Engraced Life Foundation, Ethel Olomu.
Olomu, who is a Stage 4 breast cancer survivor, expressed appreciation to INTELS for the gesture, which she said would support the foundation’s vision of giving “someone the chance to live again”.
The INTELS managing director said the company has always offered support to those in need through its various CSR programmes.
Speaking in his address to the graduating students, Fiore said the Women Empowerment Project Scheme Synergy (WEPSS) is part of the vision of the group chairman of INTELS to support and empower Nigerian women.
“We are here to celebrate the trainees who have successfully completed their training in the WEPSS facility and to bid them farewell as they begin their journey into a new phase in their lives.
“As some of you may already be aware, this facility was set up at the instance of our group chairman as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility, targeted at the women of the communities where we operate.
“We are delighted that within the eight years of its operation, from November 6, 2013, WEPSS has successfully trained over 1,500 women, many of whom are presently earning a living from the skills acquired from WEPSS.
“I urge those of you graduating today to make the most of the training and knowledge you have acquired.
Clothing is one of the basic necessities of life and will continue to be in demand. Knowledge is power, ambition is a driver. You can start on a small scale and over time build up your business,” Fiore said.
He commended the “team running the affairs of WEPSS for their good performance over the years” and encouraged them to “continue with the good works”, assuring them of the support of the management.
Also speaking, the General Manager, Legal and Corporate Services of INTELS Nigeria Limited, Amaopusenibo Mike Epelle, said WEPSS has become one of the best training facilities for tailoring and fashion design in Nigeria.
He also said that the company has contributed immensely to its host communities through various Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. The initiatives, according to Epelle, include granting scholarships and employment to indigenes, support for sports and community development programmes, building of roads, provision of street lights, markets and civic centres, among others.
Awards and start-up kits were presented to seven outstanding graduating students of the programme. The best graduating student, Faith Adaise, was presented with an industrial sewing machine, chair, scissors, and other start-up kits.