The young person’s father abandoned them when he was a child, leaving her mother with a large family of four children. Now that his mother is getting old, the young person must contribute to the support of the family by finding a job. By the grace, he has graduated, his dream has come true. Now, he has to work and take care of his aging mother including his siblings. Sadly, all his efforts to get a job prove futile. “it is not easy my brother!” he said to me. Sadly, some of us are not immune to this situation.
Jobs are scarce, even for those with University degrees and masters. Situations like this are common in Ghana and Africa in general. However, with determination and a good sense of creativity, many have been able to create jobs for themselves. Such jobs may not place a person in the circle of luxury, but they can sustain us to survive. Now, let’s take a look at some of the creative ways we can create to survive.
Creative jobs for oneself
Food is always in demand here in Accra, some businesswomen have found a fascinating variety of ways to turn this fact into profit. Some, for example, construct a small shelter near a construction site and cook a noon meal for the workers. Others provide food such as porridge or waakye (rice and beans) for those on their way to work in the morning. Running this kind of business means working a tough schedule, but it allows industrious ones to pay their bills.
If selling products do not appeal to you, consider offering various services. Car washing is another profitable business. Needed equipment? A bucket, some water, a little soap, and a good cloth. In Accra for instance, business-minded youths can be seen on almost all parking lots and on many streets performing this service.
Are you good at a specific subject? Perhaps you could offer to tutor young children on weekends. Classrooms tend to be crowded in some schools and parents may be willing to pay for their child to receive some personal attention. This is exactly what I do personally.
For our graduate sisters, another useful skill you may already have is the art of hair braiding. Since braided hairstyles and natural hair are quite popular among women in Ghana, there is a market for people skilled in this craft. If you stayed in a village and have some agriculture skills, perhaps you could start a poultry business and sell eggs and chickens.
In a city such as Accra, it takes both skill and imagination to survive, but you also need patience and a positive attitude. Do not give up easily. Be flexible, ready to change jobs if necessary.
Before attempting to start a business or offer a service, ask yourself: ‘What are the local needs and customs? What is the condition of the local economy? Can customers afford to pay for what I am offering? How many others are offering a similar product or service? Do I really have the skill, energy, initiative, self-discipline, and sense of organization needed to carry on this enterprise? How much of an investment will be involved? Will I have to borrow it? Will I be able to pay off the loan?’ The possibilities may be limited only by your own imagination.
So, my dear friends’ graduates, don’t commit suicide because there is no job. Rather, do your best to find work—even if you have to create it yourself. In this critical time of COVID-19, in order to survive, we need at times to dirty ourselves.