Caritas Freetown’s program team together with the beneficiaries conducted a day training of Ebola Survivors on Small Scale Entrepreneurship management on Wednesday 9th of September 2020. Prior this training session, Caritas Freetown did a survey assessment using the Making Cents International methodology of identifying a need and using it as an opportunity to solve community needs while creating livelihood for oneself.
In an effort to alleviate the suffering of Ebola Survivors, Caritas Freetown have consistently been running three (3) medical facilities that are providing free health care services for these targeted Ebola Survivors with support from Caritas Germany. Many will want to ask why Ebola Survivors almost 5 years after the Ebola Epidemic ended are still suffering. The answer is simple, they survived the virus but were left with many untold challenges and complications that ranges from losing their breadwinners, inconsistent health issues, economic deprivation and social exclusion to name but few.
In their project titled “A Bridge Project Enhancing Income Generation and Well-being of Ebola Survivors in the Western Area” Caritas Freetown seeks to provide three (3) main core supports, these supports are psychological support, healthcare services and livelihood support.
Through the Small-Scale Entrepreneurship training, it culminated with the distributions of products as start up support to these vulnerable Ebola Survivors in Western Area Rural and Urban Districts. Fifty Ebola survivors were targeted and drawn from Grafton, Waterloo, Allentown, Calaba town, Mount Auroel, Looking Town, Goderich, and Portee; and a thorough vulnerability assessment and verification process was done.
The Project Manager, Idriss Gibson Mansaray, introduced the project as a bridge to fill the gap Ebola Survivors are having with their health, mental and physical and financial issues. He further explained the three objectives of the project. The first objective is the stationary healthcare Services that replaced the mobile clinic which was in operation with support from a precious project, he mentioned Christ the King Hospital in Waterloo, Stella Maries in Juba and St. Anthony Clinic at Syke Street as the hospitals they should access free medical services with their families.
The second objective is psycho-social support as we have professional Counselors who are providing mental health services to help Ebola survivors have a sound state of mind. The third objective is the Small-Scale Entrepreneurship businesses that were provided today to 50 Ebola Survivors beneficiaries present at the training from different community in the Western Area.
Mrs. Grace Jones Monitoring and Evaluation Officer of Caritas Freetown who doubled as a Trainer for the Small-Scale Entrepreneurship management because of her background in micro credit, village savings and loan and community financial services management engaged the beneficiaries in an interactive. She dealt with the following topics during the training; Definition of business, why do people do business, Types of businesses, what makes business to grow, what is profit, the four Ps (Product, Place, Price, and Production) and the three Cs (Customers, Communication, and Competition) to take into consideration when doing business. She also encouraged the beneficiaries to deliberate on by the topics to enhance their deeper understanding. She encouraged the Small-Scale Entrepreneurship beneficiaries to be serious with their monthly contributions so they can learn how to save and keep improving their businesses. The training was lively and interactive, beneficiaries asked questions and the trainer provided answers.
Immediately after the training, the handing over of business products was done to the beneficiaries. The items distributed includes Bags of Rice, Gallons of Palm Oil, Gallons of Vegetable Oil, Bags of Onions, Enamel wares, Plastic ware, Maggie, Bags of Sugar, Provisions, Soft drinks and Juice, and physical Cash to fee beneficiaries whose products are perishable so they can buy the remaining items that were not bought by the project team but with supportive supervision from the project team.
A particular beneficiary from Allen Town called Zainab Bangura went into emotion as she cried bitterly in expressing her joy “Since I survived none of my family members have every asked me how I am doing, but Caritas has treated me like a family, when I am sick, or depressed or even when now as I needed support to start my little business. They have provided me with all these plastic wares so I can be selling them. I am very grateful and I cry because I am filled with, a feeling I am having for the first time in almost 5 years now she explained.