San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Women Learn Job Skills In Government Program

A class of 130 women graduated froma government program of job-skills traininglast week, joining the ranks of thousandsof Costa Rican women who havecompleted the lessons.“We are thankful for the support providedby this program because it hashelped us feel capable of doing whateverwe propose to do and to exceed our ownexpectations,” said Zulia Vindas, a representativeof the class.Called “Growing Together,” the programis directed toward women with lowincomes and is a joint effort between theMixed Institute for Social Aid (IMAS),which funds it, the National TrainingInstitute (INA), and the NationalWomen’s Institute (INAMU).“We are convinced of the necessity forlabor in our country and of the importanceof pursuing work options for the well beingof women,” said Fernando Trejos,executive president of IMAS.This year alone, 2,284 women haveundergone training in the program that, in2004, cost IMAS ¢152 million($347,440). Of those women, 1,056 tookcourses in technical training and/or academiceducation and sought help findingjobs and applying for loans.The others completed courses in “personaland collective strengthening,” whichincludes such subjects as citizenship,political rights, sexual and reproductivehealth, gender identity, life without violence,leadership and organization, andlabor orientation.Since 1999, 24,518 women have graduatedfrom the program.

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