Caroline is a loving, proud woman and mother to 3 children – 1 boy and 2 girls. When asked how she describes herself, she replied:
“I now consider myself as an entrepreneur with great expectation that my current business will outlive the one year mark.”
Caroline’s future was not always as bright as this. Her ex-husband and father to her children had abandoned Caroline and her family 10 years ago, and left them with virtually nothing: he took their house and everything inside it that belonged to her.
Despite her difficult circumstances she made a conscious decision that she needed to support her children so tried to set up several small businesses off her own back. However, due to her lack of capital or training she was never able to make a success of them, which meant that sometimes she would go a week without any money.
Eventually, she gave up these businesses and managed to get a paid job in a stone quarry. Although she was able to earn money more regularly, the work was incredibly tough and she faced daily abuse from men there.
When she saved up enough money, she was able to start a vegetable stall and joined a Parent Cluster group supported by Hope for Children. She has learnt about child protection and gender based violence, and now that she is aware of this, she can protect herself from being abused in the future.
With the support of the group, Caroline has made a much better foundation for her business, and as a member of a Group Saving & Loan scheme, she intends to use some of the savings (and the interest paid back from loans) to build a more permanent structure for her vegetable stall business, helping her to expand.