A Catering Program with Attractive Prospects for Vulnerable Liberian Girls – Global Issues

“My name is Agnes Kenderman. I am 19 years old and live in New Kru Town, Monteserrado County, with my mother and son. My community chose me for the training program.

My mother was in poor health, my father died a long time ago, during the civil war. I have a brother. We didn’t have much time to grow up, we searched for food to eat, and survived in the community, like others did, through the hustle and bustle.

One afternoon, I think I was about five years old, and I was helping my brother fry fish that our mother would later sell at the market. I don’t know what happened that day but before I knew it,

I fell into hot oil. I’m lucky my brother saved me before my face burned. I don’t know what will happen to me.

Surviving domestic violence

Our mother was a woman who went to the market to sell fish, pepper, and other little things like vegetables if she could afford it. I was cooking and looking after the house when she was gone to the market, and my brother and I weren’t going to school.

She married another man after our father passed away. He was not nice to us at all and he drank a lot of alcohol. I can remember how many times he beat our mother.

I was in a lot of pain and I was always quiet and scared of him, but my brother would try to stop him from hitting our mother, and he would come back and beat my brother badly. Whenever he or anyone tries to harass me, my brother defends me.

After about five years, he decided to leave us alone. Then our mother became seriously ill, she could not support her family, life was very difficult.

Now, my brother has a wife and children of his own. He had to move out on his own. And now I am the only one taking care of our mother here, and also my son.

Agnes-Josephine Kenderman and her son stand in front of her home in Liberia.

Helen Mayelle / Spotlight Initiative Liberia

Agnes-Josephine Kenderman and her son stand in front of her home in Liberia.

Building a brighter future

My life has improved since I was selected to participate in this program. I am much happier and I get respect from the community.

I learned to serve – that includes cooking, bread making, sandwiches, cookies, cakes and different things. I trained for three months. After training, they gave us flour, oil, butter, sugar, milk, yeast, flavoring, measuring cup, baking powder and milk. These items last for one month.

In the morning we had to get up very early to go to the training center. But when I think about tomorrow what my training will make me, and the benefits to me and my family, I just quickly get out of bed and run!

In the future, I want to continue learning. I am really interested in baking and icing for cakes for weddings and birthdays, and also want to cook special fried rice and salads.

People love to eat and if you make something sweet and delicious, they will come back again and again. During Christmas and New Year I made a lot of money from sales!

This training has given me the ability to be independent. Now I can support my family with money and other expenses”.

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