No fewer than 2,000 Nigerian youths have graduated from the Terra Academy For The Arts (TAFTA), having studied scriptwriting, stage lightening and more.

Mrs Bolanle Austen-Peters, founder of Terra Kulture and TAFTA, during TAFTA maiden graduation ceremony in Lagos, emphasied the need to invest in knowledge acquisition for the youth.

She said that the six weeks online training was spurred by her interest in exploring creativity, to create wealth and her belief in potential of younger generation.

Austen-Peters said that the training was done in collaboration with Mastercard Foundation and was entirely free for the beneficiaries.

According to her, the goal of the Academy is to have 65,000 young people trained in the creative space within five years.

“The dream of TAFTA for me is a journey of possibilities. I started Terra Academy from my living room because I believe in the future of the younger generation.

“I have been privileged to have an excellent team, who I know from nowhere. I appreciate the Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Prof. Duro Oni for their contributions.

“With the help of Prof. Oni and others, we were able to develop the curriculum to teach children on animation.

“I congratulate you all and I recognise that jobs are not available. Open your minds, you can get jobs anywhere in the world with the knowledge you have acquired,” she said

Earlier, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister for Information and Culture, urged TAFTA to work on more collaborations with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to expand training for the youths.

“On our part as government, I want to describe TAFTA as a partner in progress, as they are complementing the efforts of the government.

“This is not just to create jobs but also to create the enabling environment for the private sector, to provide jobs for the teeming population of our youths.

“I want to suggest that the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and TAFTA should explore areas of possible collaboration, especially to extend these invaluable training across the length and breath of Nigeria,” he said.

Mohammed commended the efforts of Austen-Peters in putting the nation’s creative industry on the global map with her wealth of experience in the performance arts and in movies where she has also excelled.

An actress, Omotola Jalade-Ekehinde, counseled the beneficiaries, saying, “education is priceless, to go far in life, you have to be meticulous and not be a mediocre.

Also, an actor, Deyemi Okanlawon, who recounted his experience, said he benefited from such free training 10 years ago.

“You all need to understand the business of creativity, set your goals, the impact you wish to make and you will all achieve it,” he said.

Adesokan Yusuf, a fashion designer and one of the beneficiaries who studied stage lightening, said he had always loved the concept of light which could be explored to relay different stories.

Yusuf said that he as a novice before the commencement of the course, could now do a lot in terms of qualitative stage lightening.

“I’m indeed impressed with the knowledge gained on stage lightening. Thanks to Mastercard Foundation and Bolanle Austen-Peters for this great and rare opportunity.

” We had six days practical classes which I initially undermined, but to my amazement, the six days was like 30 days because I was able to gain a lot of knowledge and we were fed all through.

Also, Dorcas Bakare, who studied Scriptwriting, said she had always been passionate about telling stories through written words, but was not converant with the way to go.

Bakare commended the TAFTA and Mastercard Foundation for the opportunity to learn and understand tbe rudiments of scriptwriting.

She said the methodology employed during the training was exceptional, as it was instrumental to ensuring the learning process easy and stick

“Now, I have been endowed with the ability to peach my words in convincing others. So, we are ready to take the industry by storm,” she said.

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