Janet used her Urban Business grant to open a stall selling stewed meat, rice, and garri yor koro – ground cassava mixed with palm oil and beans – to Ma-Juah Market’s more than 5,000 traders. With the $100 USD grant, Janet was able to furnish her cook shop with ingredients and tools, including meat, rice, beans, and cassava; pots and pans; bowls for serving, a stove, and firewood. She was also able to rent a stall in the market.
Her daughter, Bennita, is the reason behind Janet’s participation in the scheme. Now 15, Bennita had run away from home to find food, and had ended up working as a commercial sex worker on Monrovia's streets. She had been identified as vulnerable by Teh, head of Street Child’s social work team, and after gaining her trust, he asked if he could approach Janet to try to reunite mother and daughter. Bennita agreed, and Teh helped her move back home to live with her mother. He and his team also provided counselling, and mentoring support for the relationship.
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Once Bennita was back home, it was vital that Janet had the means to support her, to keep Bennita off the streets and, ideally, in school. She also had the worry of helping Bennita cope with the stigma she might face from her old school friends, for having sold sex on the streets. Alongside the grant from Street Child, Janet also received business training, help writing a business plan, and one-to-one mentoring until the business was fully up and running. And Teh was able to negotiate that Bennita went to a different school, where nobody knew her.
Just six months later, things are very different for Bennita and Janet. Bennita has stayed at her new school, and Janet is saving $200 Liberian ($2 USD) every day. Find out more about Street Child's income generation initiatives here.
“Everything is fine. Too fine,” she says, with a big smile. “I am much healthier now. My body tells you that Street Child did something good for me. Before I was worrying and hungry. But now Bennita is home, business is doing well, and I am happy.”