When Abena’s father abandoned them, it triggered a mental health crisis in her mother, Helena, meaning she could no longer work and provide for the family. At just 15, Abena felt she had no choice but to step in.
Abena had to go out on the streets of Ejisu, Ghana, every day to sell nuts, making barely enough money to provide one meal a day for her siblings.
I saw people mugged and beaten on the streets. I had to be brave. Seeing my little brother and sister eat a small meal made the risk worth it.
Thankfully, in 2019 Helena found SOS Children’s Villages. Helena received a grant to start rearing pigs. This meant she could sell the piglets to other farmers and earn enough money to provide for her children.
But they didn’t stop there. The SOS team also gave Helena crucial training in pig and maize farming, access to parenting workshops to restore her confidence as a parent and support in financial and business management to expand her business in the future.
Abena was delighted to return to school, along with her seven-year-old sister. SOS supported them with a school uniform, textbooks, exercise books, school bag and shoes.
When the coronavirus caused schools to close, thanks to SOS, Abena was able to continue her education. She went to study in one of the centres SOS set up for children without access to radio, television or internet at home.
Having returned to her re-opened school in October, Abena is excited about what the future holds and dreams of becoming a nurse. “My future is all I am thinking about right now. I am no longer tied down by worry and work, I am free and my heart sings with joy.”
Helena says she no longer feels isolated as she did before.
I am pleased that our quality of life has improved and my dignity as a mother has returned. Family means a lot to me, without my family and my children, I do not really have any meaning in my life. We are very happy and comfortable and my children have hope that they too, can be great in future.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, SOS Ghana provided food or hygiene items to all the 268 families they were working with, they raised awareness of good hygiene through posters and radio broadcasts, and they set up e-learning to help 900 children across eight communities.
Read more about home schooling in Ghana.