Solomon, age 6, and his brother Godgift, age 8, were living on Liberia’s West Point beach when Street Child staff found them last year. Sleeping together underneath a canoe at night, they would spend their days doing odd jobs, like helping the fisherman take their catch to market. Their mother Siah had been paralyzed by a stray bullet during the civil war, and her sons had become responsible for providing for the family, including Siah and their sister Blessing. They slept on the beach to be closer to the fishermen, so that when the catch came in, they would be first in line.
Over a few months, Street Child’s street team gradually began working with the boys, and then the rest of the family, getting to understand their situation and the difficulties they were facing. One of the main challenges was money. Siah wanted the boys to live at home, and for all of her children to go to school, but she simply couldn’t afford it.
The Urban Business Team worked with Siah to identify a suitable business idea – one which she could set up and run easily, given her disability – and then gave her a grant of $125 to get going. Together Siah and the team created a business plan and set up a savings scheme, and then in August 2014, Siah began selling charcoal. After just five months Siah’s business was expanding so fast, and she was making so much profit, that all the children were able to go to school, and the boys were able to live at home. For the first time in years, the family was together again.
In early spring this year, Solomon started Grade 2, and is learning to read and write. His siblings Godgift and Blessing also went back to school, into Grades 4 and 6 respectively. All are working hard, learning for their future, thanks to a simple donation of $125.