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Returning to Ghana: Richard works as a self-employed baker in his dream job

Richard enjoys working as a self-employed baker.

Returning to Ghana: Richard works as a self-employed baker in his dream job

Returning to Ghana was not easy for Richard. But the team at the Ghanaian-European Centre for Jobs, Migration and Development (GEC) gave him professional and psychosocial support. After retraining, he was able to successfully open his own bakery business.

My name is Richard, and I am 45 years old. After moving from one European country to another for over a decade, I now live back in Accra. Here, in the capital of Ghana, I have opened a bakery. I make bread and pastries for wholesalers.

I had left Ghana in 2006. Before that, I had completed a degree in electrical engineering. But I had no career prospects in my home country. Via various countries, I finally reached Germany. There, I tried for years to get all the necessary documents to remain legally. I did not succeed. Therefore, in 2019, I decided to return to Ghana. I contacted the Ghanaian-European Centre for Jobs, Migration and Development (GEC). I had heard about the centre’s activities from friends when I was still in Germany.

Targeted counselling and psychosocial support

Anyone takes the bold step of leaving for Europe knows that family and friends in Ghana have high expectations.

When I returned, I was initially considered a loser in my hometown. Reintegration was not easy. People made fun of me because I came home empty-handed. Everyone expected me to own cars and live a luxurious life. But the opposite was the case. I faced disappointments and was stigmatized. Therefore, the GEC counsellors first offered me psychosocial support.

What helped most of all was the GEC's peer counselling. Peer counselling means talking to others who are in a similar life situation. In small groups, we talked about our experiences. These meetings and the psychosocial support calmed me down and gave me new strength. And I developed the mental strength to deal with people who make derogatory remarks about me.

Career success: Richard didn’t find his return to Ghana easy, but he hasn’t given up.

Best student in the bakery course

The GEC team also supported me financially and arranged for me to spend six months at the Global Training Institute. There, I learned how to make bread and pastries professionally on a course. With my zeal and desire to start my own bakery business, I completed the training in just four months. I was even named the best student.

Even in my childhood, I loved baking. But because in Ghana it's mostly women who bake professionally, I chose a different training path after I finished school. But after returning to Ghana, I seized the opportunity to pursue my real professional passion – better late than never!

Equipped for the future as an entrepreneur

The course was very hands-on: we learned the different preparation methods for bread, cookies and pastries.

Richard now employs several assistants.

After completing the course, the GEC supported me with all the tools and equipment for my start as an independent baker. In addition, I received a tricycle to deliver my baked goods. The centre helped me run my bakery professionally. On other training courses, I acquired the necessary knowledge for new entrepreneurs. This includes financial management and accounting, but stress and depression management are also important – especially with my background.

The bakery business employs other people

My bakery is running smoothly. I make the products to order for wholesalers. I receive new orders three times a week. Through my business, I have become financially independent. Meanwhile, I have five employees who support me regularly in the bakery.

I plan to expand the business. Now I work from home. But the space is getting too small for the bakery. I would like to increase my product range and offer pizza soon.

It's been a long road to get here, but today I know you should never give up in life. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. My determination and courage to dare to try something new are already showing positive results.

As of: 05/2023

Never give up. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way!

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