Happy New Year! We hope you enjoyed your holidays and celebrated surviving a challenging year. What do you hope for in 2021 besides some sense of normalcy?
Our hope for 2021 is to transform more of our training departments into social businesses to provide additional revenue and create jobs for our graduates. As we continue to train and graduate students, more young people are led to our center to enroll. Thus the demand is high for vocational training because Liberian Youth sees it as the means for self-sufficiency.
In order to make this possible, we need to find interested partners and sponsors to help with the planning and raising the capital to buy the needed materials to make a viable business. If you know anyone interested in such a quest, please have them contact us at [email protected] We appreciate any leads!
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.
On December 14, 2019, we held our annual board meeting and elected the new officers. We are excited to announce Philip Kaleewoun will continue as the board chair for their year; Yakasah Wehyee will assume the secretary position; and Diane Anastos will continue her role as treasurer for the fourth year. Furthermore, Beyan Gonowolo became the new fundraising team chair. Also, please click on their names to read their bios and learn more about our incredible leaders.
Finally, our leadership team will focus on executing our strategic plan to include cultivating partnerships, securing more volunteers, and building our capacity to establish social businesses in Liberia.
Please join me in congratulating our 2020 Leadership Team!