It is heartbreaking to see a woman singlehandedly struggle to cater for her children. What adds insult to injury, is to see such a woman being abused by the same husband who shirks his responsibilities. In spite of that, she never gives up the struggle for a better future for her unlucky wards.

40 year old Grace Coffie, is a mother of eight.  She lives in the slums of Ashaiman, Tulaku with her mother and her children. Born and bred in Accra, she was determined to make the best out of the her life eventhough she was born into a poor home. She finally settled in Ashaiman where she sells Kenkey at the market to make ends meet.

Madam Grace Coffie talking to Raw Africa about her life

As beautiful as she is, she was often approached by men who tried to woo her with promises of marriage and financial assistance which to her was her ticket out of poverty. She realised too late however that these promises were nothing but fables and a way for the men to sleep with her. That is how she ended up with eight children from four different men. Two of these men according to her have already passed away, one is an alcoholic who beat her constantly causing severe injury to her and loss of her front teeth and then the last man who has been responsible enough to take care of the child he had with her.

Madam Coffie infront of her wooden home in Ashaiman Tulaku

Recounting how she lost her front teeth, madam Coffie said her husband at that time was an alcoholic who shirked his responsibilities towards her and their kids. Getting money from the man for their upkeep had become a very difficult task. On one occasion she went to the man’s house to request money as she often did but he in his drunken state began to assault her. Indeed it was a battle that day as she was determined not to leave his house without the money. In the heat of the moment, he picked up a metal rod lying on the floor and hit her in the face with it. Unfortunately for her, the metal hit her teeth causing four of her front teeth to fall out. It was a gruesome sight as blood oozed from her mouth and that brought an end to their struggle as she had to seek medical help immediately.

Some of Madam Coffie’s children

When asked about how she takes care of herself and her family now, she revealed that it is a struggle for them daily to make ends meet. Her mother with whom she lives sells second hand clothing while she sells kenkey at the market in order to make some money. This business she said is not as fruitful as she would have hoped because of the competition they face in their business. Ashaiman is a hub for used clothing therefore there are far too many sellers and very little buyers for their clothes. It is a similar story for kenkey as there are sellers at every corner in Ashaiman.

Madam Coffie regrets relying on men for her financial freedom and stated that if she could go back to undo all that has happened to her, she would. She is determined to work hard to fend for herself and her family and has vowed not to fall in the trap of preying men who only want to take advantage of her vulnerability.