Alice Kollie, 47, is a single mother recently returned to Liberia from a refugee camp in Guinea. She and her three children fled Liberia after her husband died during the civil war. Nearly ten years later, in 2003, Alice decided to move back to Liberia. But back in her home country, she had trouble making ends meet. She began farming rice, but was forced to stop working when she was seriously injured. Desperate for a source of income, she started selling fish, but she barely covered her expenses.
One day, ARC business development agents visited the market where Alice worked. ARC staff listened to her problems and invited her to attend a week-long business training with other entrepreneurs. Following the training, Alice received the first $35 installment of a $70 grant. The money helped her to not only increase her stock of fish but also to start selling a variety of other items.
Soon, Alice’s business had grown from a few fish to a table market stocked with products and visited frequently by local residents. She has diversified the products she sells to include an assortment of merchandise such as salt, maple, farina (ground cassava), candies, honey, peanut, matches, bullion cubes and much more. Within two months her profit has increased by over 50%, and she has hopes to continue expanding. “ARC helped me to stand, and I no longer fall,” she says.
Currently, Alice is in the process of applying for another loan to increase her business stock and extend her table market. Her dream is to grow her business to a level where she will be able to meet all the financial needs of her family, especially educating, feeding, and providing medical care for her children.
Alice’s business has also increased her confidence about the future. “My business has grown, I am so thankful. Without the program I would probably be dead from worry. Now…no more worries: I can eat and feed my family,” she says, beaming. “I will never forget what ARC has done for me. They have taught me how to manage and plan my business and gave me hope.”
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