St. Anne’s Centre for Women and Youth Development was opened on May 16th 2005, after a prayerful discernment by the Religious Sisters of Charity on how to respond to the needs of the poor in Satellite Town and its environs. The main objective of the Centre is to empower women and youths by way of skill acquisition, so as to raise their dignity in society.
Some of the skills taught in St Anne’s Centre include: Fashion designing, hat designing, bead-crafting and adult literacy. Since 2005, about two hundred and sixty eight students have graduated from the Centre. However, the 2012 graduation ceremony, which was the 6th since the history of St Anne’s, recorded about thirty seven students in all: twelve in fashion designing, eleven in bead-crafting, five in hat designing and nine in adult literacy. The ceremony took place in St Anne’s premises on 9th June 2012. In Nigeria, graduation day is popularly known as ‘Freedom Day’. It is a day no student would like to be absent. For the students, it is a day that one wears the long awaited graduation hat, takes a deep breath of relief and says, “It is accomplished!!!” Also, it is a day lots of friends, relations and well-wishers usually gather to cheer one on with beautiful congratulatory messages. This year’s graduation ceremony was the best so far. The entire student body of the Centre had put in a lot of preparation towards the ceremony. The Sisters of Charity Novices, who happened to be present at the occasion, prepared a centre-piece of Mary Aikenhead, foundress of the Religious Sisters of Charity, very close to the altar. The choir was at its best, and the day was blessed with a very good weather. The graduation ceremony was a double celebration this year because in union with the Religious Sisters of Charity all over the world, the Centre marked the bi-centenary anniversary of Mary Aikenhead’s entrance into Novitiate. The ceremony began with a Eucharistic celebration by Rev. Fr Gabriel Ukhurebor SPS. In his beautiful homily, Fr Gabriel congratulated the Sisters of Charity for their work in St Anne’s Centre. He spoke at length on the Gospel reading of the day which was about Lazarus and Dives. Fr Gabriel laid great emphasis on how Mary Aikenhead responded to the needs of the people of her time. He added that without Mary Aikenhead, there would be no St Anne’s Centre for Women and Youth Development. He then urged all present to endeavor to keep her Spirit alive in their different undertakings. During the Mass, certificates were presented to the graduating students. Their joy knew no bounds as they received the certificates. They were particularly very grateful to God and to the Religious Sisters of Charity for St Anne’s Centre. At the end of the Liturgy, there were lots of entertainment and light refreshment for the guests. The students entertained their guests with cultural dances, choreography, songs, and so on. The climax of this was the fashion parade in wedding gowns. It was a time for the fashion designing students to display their talents. They paraded themselves in wedding gowns made by each of them. This was a very exciting moment for the students who were married, because it was a reminder of their wedding day. One husband who could not hold the excitement rushed out into the parade grounds and lifted his wife up. Another kissed the wife tenderly and refused to let go of her. In fact, there was lots of love, joy and fulfillment in the air. At the end of the ceremony, the Administrator of St Anne’s Centre, Sr. Augustina Offor RSC, thanked all who were present and all who have contributed generously in making this year’s graduation ceremony a memorable one.