The Ebola outbreak continues to devastate communities. Anna, a 22-year-old hairdresser from Liberia, tells us how the virus is not only taking lives but affecting local business – which for many young people is the only way out of the enduring poverty in which they live.
“We used to have people coming to the salon from many different countries for us to do their hair. But since Ebola came up they’re not coming any more.”
Both of Anna’s parents died when she was a young girl, so she is determined to survive and find a way to look after her own two children. She visited Liberia YMCA after her sister told her about the business training classes, where she signed up to train as a hairdresser.
“On my first day at the salon, I paid really close attention to how everything was being done. I followed around the staff – I was like a watch dog, just following every step. I work at the salon from 8am and normally leave by 8:30pm, or 9pm if the customers are still here. I walk here – it takes me more than an hour.”
Before this the only way for Anna to make money was to wash other people’s clothes, and to help her sister sell cold water. On most days they didnt’ make enough to buy food to eat. After training as a hairdresser at the YMCA, Anna has been working in a salon so she can take care of her family.
“I’m worried about the economic impact of Ebola. A lot of businesses are closing down. If they close the salon I won’t be able to make any small tips that I need to survive. I don’t have any savings. If I don’t get this money there is nowhere else.”
This is why Anna and so many young people trying to earn an income are not only fearing for their lives, but fear local businesses will soon close.
“I feel really bad that people around the whole world are talking about Liberia, saying it’s a bad place, and saying they can’t come here anymore. We used to have people coming to the salon from many different countries for us to do their hair. But since Ebola they’re not coming any more. It makes me feel so unhappy.”
We need to give Anna hope so she can create a better future.
Investing in young people after a crisis will enable long-term recovery and give courage to young people living in extreme poverty.
Y Care International supports community initiatives such as the Salon Project and other practical trades, which offer Anna and thousands more young people the chance to build a sustainable future free from disease, poverty and fear.
YOUR GIFT TODAY WILL HELP REBUILD LIVELIHOODS AND COMMUNITIES
A donation of
•£10 will buy 50 Ebola preventions posters with essential information on how to stop the spread
•£25 will buy food rations lasting two weeks for a family of six
•£50 will provide a life starter kit for a young trainee mechanic
•£88 will provide young people with support to set up or improve their business
PLEASE DONATE AT www.YCAREINTERNATIONAL.ORG/CHRISTMASAPPEAL
or Text CMAS25 then your amount (e.g. CMAS25 £5) to 70070
THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING Y CARE INTERNATIONAL IN THIS TIME OF GREAT NEED