Building a Business to Support a Family
Story and photos by Vera Mensah-Bediako
Once a year, as part of Compassion Ghana programs, local church staff visit each child in the Child and Youth Development program at their home to speak with their family and assess their living situation. Extra visits are made if the child is sick or has missed activities at the child development center.
In one such routine visit to 12-year-old Amos’ home, Compassion staff discovered he was living in a desperate situation. His parents were both unemployed, forcing the family of six to exist on one simple meal a day and share two rooms to sleep in. The staff knew they could take action to provide him with extra support through Compassion’s Highly Vulnerable Children (HVC) fund.
Every child in Compassion’s program is vulnerable, but some children are facing especially difficult situations. While Amos' parents are alive and well, both were unemployed. The small farm his father worked on didn't supply enough food to provide for the children. Through generous donors, the HVC fund offers a lifeline to these children who are facing unthinkable hardship.
The extra support meant the family received monthly food baskets containing fish, meat, eggs, milk, beans, rice and cooking oil. Amos also received clothes and a mattress, so he and his siblings no longer had to sleep on the floor.
While this intervention helped to meet the family's nutritional needs, staff pursued a long-term solution. They decided to equip Amos' mother with an income-generating venture so she could help support the family. She received funds to start a small business selling baby diapers.
“I never thought that I could ever have enough money to put some in the bank. It gives me joy that I can also walk into a bank and withdraw my own money."
After she saved some of the profit, staff invested again into Cecilia’s business. This time she saw that children’s sandals were in high demand and added them to her stock and soon found her profits increased. With the help of the staff, she opened a savings account.
Amos’ father, Joseph Asare, is full of praise for the work of the local church.
“Compassion has brought peace into my home by sponsoring just one of my children … they have set my wife up in business and she is doing so much for the family. Thank God for Salvation Army Church and Compassion.”
Sponsorship: Highly Vulnerable Children
Compassion works with children and families that are in poverty, ensuring that every child is known, loved, and protected. Sometimes, a church finds that a child or their family is in a particularly difficult or dangerous situation, such as a chronic health condition, caregiver unemployment, and other issues, and may need more than the general sponsorship funds to get adequate support. In these cases, Compassion has a Highly Vulnerable Children (HVC) fund to supplement sponsorship.