BArikisu

Seamstress Empowers Teen Mothers Through Microloan

In the Ahafo Ano North District in the Ashanti region, Ghana, is the Numesua community. Known for its small-scale mining activities called ‘Galamsey’. An economic turnaround in the late 2010s made this once benign community another hotspot for school dropouts, teenage pregnancy, and teen mothers.

Often, teen victims are migrant girls from the northern regions of Ghana; who, allured by the tales of the shining stone. The problem worsened in 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown.

It’s in this community that Barikisu Dauda, a seamstress, and a mother of three lives and work. A woman who has had to burn many bridges to drag these fragile girls out of torrential disasters caused by youthful exuberance. Giving them a chance to perfect their lives for a brighter future.

Starting with three girls in 2016, Madam Dauda admitted teen mothers under her apprenticeship program - a free admission and training vocation that required the seriousness and commitment of a trainee. “I was a teen mother myself… now, I train these girls for free because young girls also deserve a chance to correct their mistakes.”

In 2017, through the VisionFund group loan, Madam Dauda was able to secure a loan to buy three butterfly sewing machines and tables to aid the apprenticeship program. Her aim was that if any teen mother in the community wanted to learn, all she had to do was walk in and ask to start. But asking them to bring their own machines was a stumbling block to their interests. Five years into her initiative and she’s trained 21 apprentices (two men and 19 women).

Currently in her ninth loan cycle, Madam Dauda has been able to buy 11 eleven butterfly sewing machines through group loans. Through her proposal to VisionFund, some of her apprentices have also received soft loans to sell petty items to make ends meet. “If they didn’t become financially independent, they would overly depend on men, and you know what would happen..” she says.

“My children are young. I may not spend so much on their education now; but if these apprentices are able to find their feet on solid grounds, they can treat themselves with respect.”

To sustain her initiative while paying back her loans, Madam Dauda has started a rice farm project with her apprentices.

 

Story by: Abban Enoch Johnson, VisionFund Ghana