Gladys was one of the first women in line eager to start learning from Mentors Ghana when we opened our branch in Ghana back in 2015. Her soft-spoken, but determined manner touched our heart when we met her.
A refugee from Nigeria, Gladys never finished her basic education because her father wanted her to do housework instead of going to school. When her husband died, Gladys found herself completely alone to care for her family. In addition, she had a sister who also died, leaving Gladys to care for her niece, as well as her own children.
Gladys opened her shop to sell homemade bread. She had been operating it for years without making hardly any profit, thanks to the exorbitantly high-interest rates of local lenders, leaving her and her family in desperate circumstances. When she found out about Mentors Ghana, she couldn’t wait to start attending business education classes and apply for a loan.
Mentors Ghana taught her to manage and save her money. After receiving her first loan, the equivalent of around $100 US dollars, and with the advice from the Mentors’ loan officers, Gladys began to sell drinks with her famous bread. Villagers began expressing an interest in chilled drinks, so she used savings and a second loan for a refrigerator and more flour for bread.
Today, Gladys’ bread supplies six villages! It is literally known for kilometers around that she has the best bread in all of Africa. Gladys makes a whopping 1,200 loaves of bread every couple of days and always sells out. Currently, she, along with the villagers she employs, bakes the bread in an old mud oven. Her dream is to save enough money to buy a more modern oven and open a larger shop. She is also determined to someday mill her own flour to avoid having to go to town to buy it – and she wants to be able to employ more villagers.
She is now personally investing in her business and saving for the future. Her small provisions shop is doing better than ever. She is able to keep her shelves stocked and has added more variety to what she can offer her customers. She takes great pride in her small little shop and always keeps it clean and well organized.
Gladys now has four employees and 27 bread sellers who work on commission. Her small business enterprises are not only blessing her family but blessing the lives of her whole village.
Gladys is happier now than ever before. She has the stability of a steady income that was never possible before working with Mentors Ghana. Gladys and her family eat nutritious food every day, have better living accommodations and she is finally enjoying the benefits of her hard work.
Gladys wants to say “Thank you to Mentors Ghana for bringing life back into me, God bless Mentors Ghana.”
She entreats everyone to join Mentors Ghana and to be just, fair and honest in their dealings with Mentors Ghana to get the needed benefits and good things they offer humanity. She wants to see other people’s lives change and smiles put on their faces.
Thirty-one previously unemployed people now have jobs, through Gladys’ efforts. Gladys is the perfect example of how the ripple effect of Mentors Ghana is spreading. Countless lives are being lifted through the growth of this office. There are still many more waiting for their opportunity like Gladys’ for their chance to become self-reliant.