Starting a business
All around the world, the ultimate way of providing for yourself is being an entrepeneur. Having your own business means being independent. To some of us it is ‘just a dream’, but for many ex-childsoldiers it’s the only way to build a future, and beat social traumas. Some of them have lost all trust in their fellow human beings as a result of what they’ve experienced, and cannot adjust to the employer-employee relation. On another note, in some areas it is impossible for an ex-combatant to get a job, still having to deal with the mistrust of those around them. They often live in a situation very much like slavery, barely having enough to eat to survive. Girls who were part of the war and became a mother in that time are often shunned from the communities, both themselves and their children forced to rely on the generosity of others. This leads to a stunning degree of exploitation which is hard to endure, especially since they’ve been subject to abuse all their lives.
To make them independent once and for all, the only solution is their own business. This also helps them climb the social ladder, since they are now the ones helping to create employment and developing their communities. Aside from support in setting up a business, we provide them with the skills needed to run them successfully such as reading, writing, math and basic economic principles.
How does it work?
The type of business depends on the regional supply and demand factors and the talents of the participant. Some will do better as a streetvendor, others benefit more from running a shop.
Het initial grant we provide is 50% donation, 50% interest-free loan. When the loan has been repayed as agreed, there’s the option of taking out a second loan to further develop the business. The height of the amount depends on the type of business. On average an amount of 400 Euros is needed.
Companies have the option of partnering up with a business. For example, if you’re a barber and want to help an ex-childsoldier set up his or her own barbershop, you will become business-partners. After the startup-phase you decide if or how much microcredit you want to provide.