Prior to lockdown in Nigeria, Mary Aikenhead Centre (MAC) for the training of women, men and youth in Ibadan was blessed on 27th April 2020 by Rev. Fr. Charles Acheneje SMA with Sisters and postulants in attendance. After the lockdown, the Centre began with the orientation of the new students on 3rd October 2020 and officially opened on 5th October 2020.
Some of the students who had registered earlier before lockdown withdrew because they relocated to other States due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the new students were all excited about the new training Centre because the fee is affordable and equally provides them with the opportunity for growth in other areas of life. Especially those with financial constraint who could not afford to enrol in other training centres.
The establishment of Mary Aikenhead Centre by the Religious Sisters of Charity was the fruit of many years of planning and discernment. Since its opening, the Centre has striven to meet its goal to promote the dignity of women and youth, especially the underprivileged through skills acquisition in Computer, Tailoring, Catering and Antiseptic production using available resources.
The period of lockdown provided an opportunity to be creative in making the environment more conducive for the students as well as planting flowers and Aloe Vera for antiseptic production.
Emerging from the lockdown and amidst the societal struggle to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mary Aikenhead Centre continues to engage the populace in churches, motor bike parks and on social media to educate the people on the role of skills acquisition and the benefits of empowerment for self-reliance and sustainability especially during this period of economic downturn in Nigeria.
Beyond training, we teach students how to package their products properly, market their products, apply healthy competitive strategies and target customers. The students also receive training in business and financial management.
The first graduation ceremony took place on 24th April 2021 during which the graduates received a certificate in Catering.
Recently some students reported that they no longer buy antiseptic products from the market, but produce their own. Some students have started advertising their products, getting contracts from banks, schools, hospitals and parishes.
Mary Aikenhead Centre has a production department, sewing department and catering department. The Centre supplies antiseptic to institutions and also makes uniforms for institutions within and outside Ibadan.
As Venerable Mary Aikenhead would say, “Give to the poor what the rich can buy for money.” Mary Aikenhead Centre Ibadan aims at transforming lives of women, men and youths especially the underprivileged.
Sr. Francisca Obosherinor RSC