Y Care International funded the YMCA Post-Ebola Recovery Project that helped mobilise young people in Liberia and Sierra Leone to rebuild businesses and communities devastated by the most recent Ebola outbreak. Here is Elizabeth’s story…

Elizabeth * is my name. I am an Ebola survivor who benefited from psycho-social counselling and a start-up grant through YMCA Post Ebola Recovery Project funded by Y-Care International. I was engaged in small scale business (petty trading) before the Ebola scourge. This may not sound much to many people but for me it was everything and due to my illness, I lost it all.

I managed to start the business again after the Ebola epidemic was declared over but at a much lower pace compared to before. I was running my business from home. I either moved to my customers or customers moved to my home, but that story has changed ever since YMCA intervened.

With the intervention of the YMCA Post Ebola Recovery I was able to secure a shop that was strategically located and this is where my business is now situated, attracting more customers than ever before.

With a grant I received from the YMCA, I was able to rent a shop and immediately joined osusu (local savings scheme). I later requested a loan as my rented shop served as collateral before the loan was given to me.

Had it not been for the YMCA and the project funded by Y Care International, I would never have been granted the opportunity to secure a loan because I had no collateral at that time. I am so grateful to YMCA for adding value to my business, my life, my family and the community as a whole.

I can proudly say “It all started when YMCA came and gave me a grant”.

Elizabeth, Makeni, Sierra Leone

*Name changed to protect identity.