to the city to carry goods for businesses in pots on their heads. It’s physically demanding work in a dangerous place for women who are living on their own. Six months later, Miriam’s life took another turn for the worse when she was robbed. As a result, she was forced to go home with nothing to show for all her hard work. Her dream suffered another serious setback. Never giving up But she never gave up hope, even in this dark time. Then her patience and persistence were rewarded. “Children Believe supported me to enroll in a dressmaking shop to learn,” she explains. “This came to me as a relief since I was not doing anything at home.” Miriam applied for the program and was accepted; her determination made her an excellent candidate. The program helps young women like Miriam, who’ve been forced to drop out of school. But the assistance doesn’t stop when the training ends. At the training centre, Miriam learned to sew and operate her own business, with money management and budgeting. After three years of apprenticeship training, she graduated. Her life was finally moving forward. “Even after graduating from the training, I still received start-up support (funds),” Miriam says. “I got an additional new sewing machine to support me to establish my shop. I also received other materials like a table, chairs, scissors and more.” Miriam is eager to share her good fortune, and has been advising other young women on how to follow in her footsteps. “I want to help others so they will not have to go Miriam and her husband Kamaldeen are saving together so that she can move her sewing business into a new location away from their family compound.

Employment opportunities for young people

through what I went through,” she smiles. “I want them to learn a skill like I did.” “I want to help others so that they would not have to go through what I went through,” she smiles. “I want Thirty-six young women and eight young men received vocational and technical skills training and have access to employment opportunities in the past year. These young people were trained in dressmaking, hairdressing, carpentry, welding and weaving. Five hundred young people have benefitted from the skills training program.

them to learn a skill like I did.” Turning dreams into reality

Today, Miriam earns money by sewing dresses and school uniforms from her home, living with her husband and their two children, now nine and six. Their traditional Ghanian home includes other extended family members, such as parents, brothers and sisters, their wives and children. The household is a small community of about 20 people. But Miriam is ambitious and is striving for a new level of success. Her next goal is to earn enough to purchase a shipping container to house her growing business. But to have her own shop, away from the family compound, means taking on her own apprentices to train in order to grow her business and client base. Miriam’s supportive husband has already bought a small parcel of land for the new shop and they are working together to save money for it. Believing in children Miriam’s story is one example among many of Children Believe’s programs in Ghana, which have changed the lives of hundreds of women like her in recent years. “The skill-training program provides an opportunity for out-of-school young people to be empowered to acquire livelihoods through vocational and technical skills,” explains Esenam Kavi De Souza, Associate Country Director for Children Believe Ghana. “We’re very proud of the accomplishments of those who have participated and made the most of their training.” Other women, like Miriam, could benefit from the opportunity with donor support to build capacity in the program. For Miriam, she is grateful for the opportunity she had to fulfill her dream of learning a valuable skill. “Since I graduated, my life has changed and it is better now than it used to be. I am very happy and grateful.”

Seizing opportunities and never giving up

Miriam and her family, husband Kamaldeen, son Hidir, and daughter Ahlam.

By Samuel Abdul-Rahaman


iriam is grateful for the life she lives now as a business owner. But her success has come through a lot of long, hard struggles and

maize. I was carrying it in a basin and moving from one location to the other to sell.” She was able to earn a little bit of money for her hard work, but when her child was born, followed by a second child, a girl, she had to switch her focus to raising her children. Her husband continued to train to be an electrician, but his income would be low for a number of years until his apprenticeship was complete. There was no time or money to support her career aspirations. Looking for a solution for Miriam to pursue skills training, it was decided she would move to the capital city of Accra with their infant daughter to find work as a “head potter.” Often sleeping in the streets, head potters in Ghana are mostly teenage girls who migrate

many setbacks. She was married at 16 because her parents were unable to meet her basic needs. They couldn't afford school expenses, including school supplies, uniforms or shoes. Pregnant soon after with her first child, Miriam’s childhood and education were suddenly over. As a girl from a small village in northern Ghana, without an education or skills, her options were extremely limited. She became a street vendor to try and earn money for their family. “My husband got some small capital for me to sell

14 ChildVoice 2023 ANNUAL REPORT ISSUE

ChildVoice 2023 ANNUAL REPORT ISSUE 15

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