Liberia’s deteriorating economy made 2019 a difficult and trying year. As inflation increased, may businesses and nonprofits folded due to rising costs. People went to work and have not been paid for months. Banks ran out of money causing international organizations like the Peace Corp to withdraw their people from the country.
Throughout the year, Kelvin Fomba, Co-Founder & Director, found ways to keep things afloat by using his skills as a master mechanic. He often donates his income to support daily operations. He also uses his skills for exchange services to further our cause.
On October 30, he and another person agreed to trade deal in lieu of cash. This person wanted to help UDS but didn’t have the means. However, he had a jeep that needed major engine repairs. Kelvin had the parts needed for the job and completed the work with his mechanical students in a few days.
UDS Hair Salon
Upon completing the work, the person offered UDS his shop within a five-minute walk from our center. We moved our cosmetology department to the new location. Our team painted the exterior walls with our colors, built shelves and workstations, and purchased hair and other products. Through Kelvin’s efforts, UDS now has a hair salon as part of our social enterprise initiative. The sales from hair and products will provide an additional revenue stream.
As you can see in a cash-strapped economy, the barter system plays a pivotal role in helping people sustain themselves during a crisis. In this case, Kelvin provided $1,000 of work this equated to $1,800 in rent of the shop ($100 monthly rent).
In close, this gave us the means to start this small enterprise. And we hope to receive additional support to build more workstations, buy sinks for hair washing and hair dryers, and other material to make it a full salon.