Economic Development Initiative

United Methodist Women Empowerment Grant Enlivens Young Women in Sierra Leone’s Beauty Business

United Methodist Women Empowerment Grant Enlivens Young Women in Sierra Leone’s Beauty Business
Left to right: Racheal Caulker, trainer Fanta Turay, and Fatmata Mary Sheku hold their certificates.

Rachael Caulker, age 28, is all smiles. Through a grant from the United Methodist Economic Development Initiative, she has developed skills as a make-up artist after a year of training. “I love the job and I have passion for it,” she explains to me, the United Methodist Women country team journalist.

Caulker’s salon is in Kissy in the eastern Freetown region of Sierra Leone. With COVID-19 infection rates waning, business in beauty salons are picking up and Caulker is pleased that her clients are turning up for her services, which are a source of income for her and her family. “I get income in several ways – sometimes I do makeup for weddings, parties and other activities, thus providing a means of livelihood,” she said. 

Another beneficiary of the grant, Fatmata Mary Sheku, also demonstrated her skills in the beauty business through offering facials. She is grateful for the Young Women’s Network, an arm of the Sierra Leone Annual Conference’s United Methodist Women, that recommended her for the empowerment grant.

Cosmetology Pays for College

“They have given me the opportunity to learn the skills which have provided me a source of income”, said Sheku, a sociology student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree at Fourah Bay College, a constituent college of the University of Sierra Leone. Income from her new make-up skills supports her university education.

“Every customer pays me, whether they’re preparing for a wedding, a photo shoot, a dinner or an outdoor event. That way, I earn an income.” For casual makeup, she earns about $10 to 15, and for wedding make up, she earns about $150 a day. “So, my total income depends on how best I market my brand,” she explains.

Grateful for the opportunity provided by United Methodist Women to support her university education, Sheku hopes to establish her own make-up artist salon. Aware of the high unemployment rate among university graduates in Sierra Leone and with no assurance that she will get a job immediately after graduating, she believes she will be in better position to be self-employed upon graduation with her training in the make-up business,

The two women, Sheku and Caulker, who have trained for one year, have demonstrated their handwork during the certification ceremony at Fantastic Beauty Salon in eastern Freetown. Cosmetology is a growing and lucrative industry in Sierra Leone and has become attractive to many young women as an entrepreneurship venture. 

Keziah Kargbo is a journalist on the United Methodist Women Sierra Leone Country Team.

 

Posted or updated: 3/26/2021 12:00:00 AM

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United Methodist Women Economic Development Initiative (EDI) creates economic opportunities even in the most vulnerable rural communities. The seed grants support women entrepreneurs to start and run viable small enterprises, agribusinesses and income-generating activities. The opportunities that these small grants create for women, their families and communities are powerful catalysts, especially during COVID-19 when the economic situation is becoming more and more insecure.


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