34 year old Jermima Roberts grew up in West Point slums in Liberia. At 19 she became pregnant but the father of her baby left her soon after.
‘If the father of your child leaves you, you have no one to help you. You have to rely on your parents. I was pregnant and going around my friends begging for food. It was hard.’
Unemployed and with nothing to do Jermima succumbed to peer pressure and starting drinking liquor on the street each day.
‘In West Point if you haven’t been to school like me, and you have no job you are just left doing nothing.
‘It is common for people to buy you a bottle of liquor so that they have someone to drink with. We would go around drinking almost all week.’
One day her parents told her about a tailoring training course and she decided to apply.
‘I have a son, so when the project came I wanted to take advantage of it to better my life.’
‘When you have never had a job you don’t know any different. You think this is what life is like, you just walk around and drink… But once I found something to do I realised I had been wasting my life.’
Jermima now works in a tailoring shop with two other ladies and dreams of one day having her own shop.
‘I now feel I can make a difference . As a woman you have less opportunities, you have less to do and people take you for granted. But if you have a skill you are important in society, people respect you.
‘As women it is important for our children to see us empowered. The project needs to come back because there are so many more women who need training, who need a job, so that they can take care of their children and not have to rely on a man.
‘Because of the income that I have I am able to support my son. As a child he has not seen his father around, he saw me not doing anything so maybe he wouldn’t respect me. But now, he sees me get up and go to work every day and earning money. He knows I can send him to school and give him money for lunch, so now he can have confidence in his mother.’