A pile of colourful plastic shoes

Finding her feet

Eileen* was born into a family of six and her mother struggled to raise her children because Eileen’s father had died when the children were very young, leaving them in poverty.

Life was so tough that Eileen and her siblings were relocated to their grandparents who raised them and sent them to school. This was not always easy as there were many in the household including additional cousins.

Eileen studied up to senior two but could not continue her education, despite wanting to, because there was not enough money to pay her school fees. Her grandparents were now old and were not able to work anymore therefore she stayed home with them to look after them until the age of twenty.

Empty promises

Eileen wanted more for her life and soon after she met a man who promised to look after and marry her which she saw as an opportunity to leave home and start afresh. Her grandparents were happy for her and initially things were good until she had her second child. The man began mistreating her and even married another wife so in her despair, Eileen left.

Whilst struggling as a single mum, she met another man who was willing to take her in with her three children. They had three more children but sadly Eileen and her new husband began fighting regularly. She didn’t want her children to witness this so she decided to go back to her grandmother’s house.

Working for her future

Life was very hard with six children. Eileen made money by washing other people’s clothes or selling soap. She made very little so would send her children to look for plastic bottles for them to sell, so that they could get food.

While the children were at the rubbish site, staff from S.A.L.V.E. International met them and invited them to the girls’ Drop In Centre. They were so happy to see people showing them kindness and care that they started attending every day.

This is how this family was referred to S.A.L.V.E.’s Family Business Empowerment programme. After initial assessments, Eileen attended three days of training. Following this, she started her own business of selling plastic shoes, locally known as ‘bidcos.’

Life has started to change and now they can afford two meals a day and Eileen is seeing a bright future ahead. She has plans to send her children to school next year and no longer worries like before. She is very happy that S.A.L.V.E. came through to help her and her children.

A woman kneeling down, smiling in front of a large pile of shoes

* names have been changed

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