Blessing O. Jacobs, YMCA of Liberia

Image © Tom Price

Funding education through entrepreneurialism

“I want to let (young women) know that you don’t have to give up in this life”

In a vulnerable community in Liberia where crime and sex work are a common avenue for young women to support themselves, we met Blessing, who is taking the initiative, with the support of our local partner, to fulfil her potential.

Aged 29 and running her own retail enterprise to support her studies as an adult learner, Blessing O. Jacobs is investing in her own future by harnessing the power of education and commerce.

Massive economic hardship combined with the COVID-19 pandemic have hugely damaged life chances in Liberia in recent years, with many businesses and households affected. Many people are driven to generate ‘fast cash’ through crime and unregulated work, and many young women have been driven into sex work and other exploitative industries. We caught up with Blessing, who is forging a new path with the support of SHE partner, YMCA Liberia:

Blessing is learning at the YMCA Polytechnic in Gbanga, Bong County, which is receiving support from SHE partner, YMCA Liberia, to expand its computer and digital training provision. The Polytechnic was founded to build skills and equip a new generation of Liberians to begin to transform their futures.

“…life is so sweet when you get to where you want to be, so keep being strong. Never give up, whatever situation you find yourself in today.”

Tapping into the benefit of her school’s urban location in the nearest town, Blessing acts as a local supplier for goods, like fashion and household items, which she re-sells for a small profit.

With many communities poorly connected to urban centres and a demand for decent clothing and household goods, young entrepreneurs like Blessing are providing a much-needed service to their community whilst also supporting themselves.

The money Blessing makes is helping to pay for her school transport and living costs so that she can continue to gain new skills for her future career.

Like many young people in Liberia today, Blessing is ready to make change and transform her future. With the support of our partners, we are laying the groundwork for young women to fulfil their potential in every community.

You can help people like Blessing now by investing in SHE

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Blessing O. Jacobs, YMCA of Liberia

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