By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
October 28, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) - The Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia on Monday said that hundreds of Eritrean refugees sheltered at two camps in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray region have completed a vocational and skills training.
Deputy Ambassador of the Norwegian Embassy in Ethiopia, Tove Stub, told Sudan Tribune that the vocational training given in Mai-Aini and Adi-Harush camps were managed by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
According to Stub over 500 Eritrean refugees have been graduated after receiving a one-year vocational and skills training as part of the NGO’s Youth Education Pack (YEP), non-formal education scheme.
The refuges who trained in tailoring, food preparation, wood work, general construction, electronics and metal-work have received certificates of graduation.
NRC’s Education Manager, Onen Christine Harriet, said that some of the graduates will take part in construction and expansion works of newly opened camps.
Others will also be offered jobs at local and international NGO’s working in the camps.
Based on skills they have learnt some groups of the refugees are also planning to open small shops at the camps to generate income and change their lives.
Many members of the host communities have also received training along with the Eritrean refugees.
According to the Norwegian Refugee Council, for 2014 there are plans to train over 1,000 refugees in three Eritrean refugee camps in Tigray region.
Launched in 2012, the Youth Education Pack (YEP) is a training programme assisted by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government of Sweden and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in collaboration with the Ethiopian government.
According to UNHCR, currently there more than 77,000 Eritreans sheltered in 6 camps in Tigray and Afar regions bordering Eritrea.
Eritrean refugees are the second largest refugee population in Ethiopia after Somalis who top the list with over 240,000 refugees sheltered in 8 camps.