Before Agnes (pictured above) received a business grant and training from Street Child, she used to buy and sell bread baked by others. She and her 13-year-old son Prince lived from hand to mouth, subsisting on one meal a day, and she was unable to afford the fees to send Prince to school. Now, however, Agnes buys her own ingredients, rents an oven from the neighboring bakery, and bakes her own bread to sell. Her profit has quadrupled, Prince is attends school every day, and she is even putting money aside for the future. Find out here how your donations helped Prince into school, and Agnes to develop her business

In cities across Liberia and Sierra Leone, we offer families of street-connected children the opportunity to create or develop a small business. Each enrolled family is awarded a grant (typically $100 USD) to invest in business assets such as stock, labor, premises, and/or a vehicle. They then attend workshops, where they learn how to write a business plan and develop an understanding of basic business principles, such as profit and loss, and how to track stock.

Further grants of between $5-$10 are available for incidentals such as publicity materials, or stationery, and all participants are assigned a business scheme worker who mentors them, and helps them make their business a success.

Crucially, business owners are required to save between $1-$2 USD per day, some of which must be spent on their child's education as a condition of scheme enrollment. If they successfully complete 20 weeks of savings, they are offered access to further grants or, in some cases, loans. Where necessary, Street Child will make the initial investment into a child's educational future, by paying school fees and/or buying uniforms and books.

Of the nearly 3,000 businesses which have been launched since 2008, 84% are still making a profit, and 90% of families have managed to fund full primary education for the child first identified as living on the street. 

Typically, small businesses involve selling products to passing consumers in marketplaces and along the roadside, such as charcoal, smoked fish, firewood, shoes and clothes, condiments, toiletries, bread, hot food, and cold water.

Urban Business Scheme costs at a glance

  • Start-up grant                                                                  $100

  • Business skills development  (e.g. workshops)      $20

  • Business stationery                                                        $5

  • One-off 'back-to-school' grant                                    $75
    (e.g. fees, uniform, books, paper and pencils)

POTENTIAL TOTAL PER CAREGIVER                          $200