Our work has officially begun in Tamale. For the past several months, Matthew, our staff person in the northern region, has been assessing women who are in need of apprenticeship grants so they can begin job training. These are women who have had to drop out of school at an early age because their families could not provide school fees. After interviewing and assessing many women, we have begun with grants given to two women who want to enter an apprenticeship in hairstyling. Lilian, who lives in Tamale, Ghana, will enter a hairstylist apprenticeship this month. She dropped out of school in sixth grade because no one was willing to continue paying her school fees. Three years ago she had a baby girl, but the child's father left immediately and she hasn't seen him since. It's a familiar story in the rural villages in Ghana. She now works at a chop bar as a waitress, but she wants a better, more stable life for herself and her daughter. "Life is challenging for me," she said. "I want to be trained as a hairdresser so I can have my own source of income to take care of my daughter and live meaningfully." We believe in that too, so we awarded Lillian an apprenticeship grant. Now, she looks forward to learning the art of hairstyling so she can open her own shop.
Esther is the third child of seven and although she made it to the level of vocational school, she got pregnant and was not allowed to continue. She was encouraged to abort her baby so that she could continue school, but she decided against this. Because she had to drop out of school, she suffered low self-esteem and felt like she would never be able to care for the child she had chosen to keep. She decided that in 2015 she would find funds to enter job training so she could start over and provide for her child. Because she had no funds to enter an apprenticeship, she began spending her days at a local hair salon and observing the hairstylist and her apprentices in the hopes of someday being able to become one of those apprentices. In April she was assessed to receive a grant to enter hairstyling apprenticeship.
The villages in the northern region are filled with single mothers who do not have the education or training to adequately provide for their children. Often, women like these become frightened and desperate, and can fall prey to human traffickers who approach them with promises of giving their children an education, but instead use them as child slaves. These women also find themselves without choices, and end up taking their child to an orphanage just so they can be sure someone will feed them. When women are given the opportunity to provide for their children, both they and their children are given a hope and a future.
If you would like to join us in granting hope to women like Lillian and Esther, click here.