The story of a Youth at Risk, taking a chance on a new lease on life

November 19, 2021


Nana shows scars of Gender Based Violence (GBV) meted against her by the father of her three children.

30 years old Nana Karyea of King Gray township in Monrovia, was a victim of gender-based violence. She dropped out of school in the 5th grade in 1999 and hooked up with a man by whom she had her first child. With time, they parted ways and she got into a relationship with another man, with whom she lived for 11 years and had three more children. It was in this relationship that the violence begun. As a result of beatings, she lost two pregnancies.

Nana was traumatized and in a state of confusion. She showed us scars on her head and on her left hand inflicted by her partner. She fled the violence at home and ended up in nightclubs and on ghetto streets drinking excessively, shooting illicit drugs and engaging in prostitution. 

“I was so frustrated; I had to get out of this relationship. My life has been a complete mess. I have been involved in smoking, drinking, and sex work. I also did house-keeping jobs to get little money,” Nana said with a sad, serious and reflective expression on her face.

Nana was among over 500 disadvantaged youth that benefited and graduated from a UNDP peacebuilding and vocational training program designed at empowering disadvantaged youth to make something of themselves.

“Since the introduction of this program in 2019, I have decided to be a better person. I went through the counseling and vocational trainings,” she said. “I am interested in hairdressing; I see my friends making money from it. I know I can do the same and get my shop open one day as long as I keep focus. I believe I can change. It’s not easy, but I’m sure that changes will come gradually,” the determined Nana said. She is also part of a village savings program through which she is saving up to open her salon.

Nana successfully completed the year-long training in 2020 a completely transformed person – so much more confident, and full of hope for the future. When we last spoke to her, she was practicing hairdressing informally, plaiting her neighbors’ children’s hair and saving towards opening her own salon. She has also been involved in training other disadvantaged youth.