Micro-enterprise Training and Opportunities
Economic empowerment is a huge issue for our women. The lack of enough money to buy food leads to finding income through means that devalue the women and reduce their dignity and purpose. Begging and prostitution may feed the children, but they exact a significant toll in the long run. Insufficient income also means that mothers and children are undernourished, leading to high infant mortality rates and maternal and child morbidity. Children cannot attend school (which are not free in Sierra Leone, though there is no tuition required for elementary education), perpetuating the cycle of poverty and ill health.
Because this is such a big need, equipping and empowering these women to be able to provide for themselves and their children in dignified and safe ways is woven throughout the ministry. Our 8-month long CHE training incorporated business skills and character lessons that will enable women to succeed in micro-enterprise.
Skills training classes, led by volunteers from the US or skilled craftsmen and women in Sierra Leone equip the women with knowledge of new skills and products that can be used to generate income. Business skills training, marketing assistance and consulting is given to small business owners to help them grow their businesses and ensure sustainability and growth.
Besides the local market outlets, crafts and products made by the women are purchased through our Fair Trade program and sold in the United States.