Just recently Lift Ghana officially launched its project in Agbogbloshie, one of the largest urban slums in Accra, in partnership with the local charity/NGO Shepherd’s Heart. Our small team has begun a project targeted at women of varying ages who are involved in the sex trade or at risk of being so. We currently visit one house 3 days a week to do some training with the women who reside there. We hope to do some practical training in hairdressing and tailoring soon but for now we are teaching them how to make things that can be sold to give them an income through their labour and encourage them to do something with their time and creativity.
Making a difference with flip-flops!
A family member of mine decorated a pair of flipflops with beads and gave it to me as a Christmas present years ago and I still wear them so we have used this design as a template for the women and are planning to sell the flipflops locally and through our online shop so the women can make a small profit. We have recently also started making sets of button coasters with them so look out for these too!
While we are busy creating things with our hands, we talk, build community and encourage the women in relation to their physical and sexual health, referring them to clinics and doctors as appropriate. We talk about motivation for life, life skills and topics like how to handle anger. We discuss issues like substance abuse. We encourage them in money matters and talk about how and where to save. If appropriate, we also encourage them in their spiritual journey and if they would value prayer, we pray with them for healing.
Life is challenging for these women who gradually become hardened by their surroundings and their work and often rely on substances like drugs and alcohol to carry them through the day. It is not easy to break the cycle of poverty but we have to start somewhere. And we will continue to motivate these women with the message that there is hope for change, and there is a different way of life that’s available to them if they have the desire to seek it.