Liberia was ravaged by the Ebola crisis as well as civil wars over the last decades, reducing the male population. Many women must now provide for their families.
In partnership with Nazarene Compassionate Ministries, the Nazarene Women's Project has been in operation since 2001. Edith N'Boyou, a pastor's wife and the project founder, explained that the program's aim is "... for the people to be empowered to help their families and community and to be a witness ... to share their Christian faith with people in the area."
Not only do the students learn to make baked goods during the nine-month program, but they also learn the process of batik and soap making. The program also includes a spiritual element, as the women study the Bible during daily devotions.
"Visiting the Nazarene Women's Project in Ganta, Liberia, I was instantly impressed with the diligence of the girls who were busily stirring cornbread batter and who had already baked sumptuous potato bread muffins," Nazarene missionary Monica Carr said. "They also had bread dough rising in pans ready to bake in the innovative round aluminum oven, heated with coals placed underneath and on top."
Grace Daniels, a student and class president of the group, said the program has been a big help.
"It helps me learn how to manage and set-up a business," she said.
Not only does the program benefit its students, but the baked goods they make provide healthy snacks for the children of the adjoining church-run school, as well as provide soap and batik for the community.
When asked about her future goals for the program, Edith said she hopes to incorporate a showroom for her goods so that people in the community can more easily see and buy the products.
"I can personally vouch for the potato bread muffins, as the verse, 'Taste and see that the Lord is good,' comes to mind (Psalm 34:8)," Carr said.