In Africa, a young person’s journey out of poverty can be full of obstacles – lack of education, lack of practical skills, lack of business knowledge, lack of finance to invest in a trade and competition against a growing population of young people entering the job market.

Vida faced all of these obstacles but with support from Opportunity International she is overcoming them.

Half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is under 25 years old
75% of young people in Sub-Saharan Africa are officially unemployed
By 2050, Africa’s population will double

Vida is a smart, determined 25-year-old with big ambitions for her future. She wants to be a fashion designer.

Vida lives with her parents and seven younger siblings in a remote village in Western Ghana.Her parents work long days farming maize and cocoa. Yet despite their hard work, they have very little. They have no electricity, no running water and no toilet. Providing regular meals and affording school fees is a constant challenge. When Vida finished primary school, she began farming with her parents as they could not afford secondary school fees. Determined to learn her own trade and build a better life, Vida went looking for work when she was 18. After a couple of years, she had earned enough money to start an apprenticeship, but instead she used it to support her younger siblings through school.

 

Her energy, drive and resourcefulness was not enough — Vida was trapped in a cycle of poverty. But this was not the end of the road.

In 2016, after hearing about Opportunity International in her local community, she joined Opportunity International’s Youth Apprenticeship programme and started an apprenticeship.

A year into the programme, Vida faced another obstacle. On her hour and half walk to work, she was involved in a traffic accident and was in hospital for six months with serious head injuries - “I was afraid that I would have to drop out of the apprenticeship because I lost six months but I think I can catch up.” She says.

Vida is now recovering well and thriving in her apprenticeship. She is on the right path to achieving her dream of becoming a fashion designer.

I love to sew my own designs and see people wear them. I am so happy that I have been able to settle down and learn a proper job. When I graduate I want to set up my own tailoring shop.”

When Vida had her accident I was so worried about her. I was afraid she would die. It is hard, because the hospital bills are high and I had to sell some guinea fowls and chickens to pay the bills. But I am happy that she has recovered. Vida is such a strong girl. I am proud of her. She is learning a real trade. And it will help the whole family when she finishes the apprenticeship and when she can work and earn a regular income.”

Laro, Vida's father
Vida with her tailoring mentor

“The youth apprenticeship programme provides young people with a real chance. Vida is really determined; you can see that she really wants to succeed.”

Charles, Vida’s tailoring mentor

A message of support from our Patron HRH The Princess Royal

What impresses me most about Opportunity International is how they continually adapt to put the needs of the poor first. Youth unemployment is becoming an increasing challenge for many countries in Africa. Opportunity International is unlocking the entrepreneurial potential and providing the life changing support that young people so desperately need to lift themselves and their communities out of poverty.

As with all the clients we work with, young people have the drive and determination to work hard and overcome the obstacles they face. Our programmes support this ambition by providing the access to financial training and loans that enable them to become the business leaders and entrepreneurs of the future.

Please consider supporting this Christmas appeal and giving a hand up to those who need it most.

Our Patron HRH Princess Royal

(Photo shows HRH Princess Royal speaking with Opportunity International clients in the Philippines, early 2015)

There are millions of young people, like Vida, who have the vision, drive and potential to succeed. But on its own this is often not enough.

Will you help more people journey out of poverty today?

A small loan of just £160 could enable a young entrepreneur to develop a business.

Please enter a valid email address.

Our three-year apprenticeship programme gives young people like Vida the opportunity to work alongside an experienced mentor, learning the skills and knowledge of a trade, whilst developing an understanding of how to manage a business effectively. On completion, the apprentice receives a start-up loan to begin their own business.