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Popping a brighter future

Mavis uses family strengthening tools to put her family on solid ground

Daneal Lightner, content writer

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The house buzzes with activity and sounds of children’s laughter. Mavis smiles to herself as she prepares dinner and the delicious aroma fills their modest home.

Life is good. But it wasn’t always this way.

When Mavis tragically lost her husband, she became the sole provider for her five children. On top of the grief, being a widow in Ghana isn’t easy. She lost the rights to her home, forcing her to move into a crude, deteriorating room they rented. Further gender inequalities made earning a living to support her family extremely difficult.

Her three boys had to drop out of school because she could no longer afford their school tuition. Eventually, she couldn’t afford rent either and the family lost their housing.

Terrified, alone, and emotionally and financially reeling, Mavis was sure things couldn’t get worse. But then, her little girl, Jane, developed an emergent medical condition. Mavis couldn’t afford her treatment.

She’d hit rock bottom and, just as any mother would be, she was desperate for help.

And through preventive services that help families before they come apart, she was able to find it.

Bethany’s family preservation and empowerment program helps ensure families have their basic needs met and provides the tools, skills, vocational training, and resources they need to become self-sufficient. That short-term support was all Mavis needed to put her family back on solid ground.

The boys were given a tuition stipend so they could go back to school. Mavis secured a new home and her church helped her renovate it, making it suitable and safe for her family. And little Jane received the medical care she needed.

Through emotional and mental support, Mavis began to process and heal from the trauma of losing her husband and surviving the poverty her family had been thrown into.

With the help of vocational training, business classes, and access to start-up funds and loans, she successfully revamped her business selling cereals, bakery goods, nuts, and popcorn—one of her most popular products.

She has big plans to expand her business, distributing her product to more regional market vendors. Her children are healthy, happy, and thriving. Their future, once dark and uncertain, is brighter than ever.

Together, we're strengthening families to break the wheel of poverty that crushes too many. Through family strengthening and preservation services, we're giving struggling families the tools they need to transition from poverty to self-sustainability.

Mavis’ famous recipe for Nkyewe3 (“roasted corn”)

Ingredients ½ cup popcorn kernels ½ tsp salt (or more to taste) 2 tbsp vegetable oil 1 cup dry roasted peanuts 1 cup cooked millet ¾ cup water 3 tbsp sugar (optional) 6 bottles (Mavis uses soda bottles, but any container will do!)


  1. In a stock pot (4 quarts or larger) add oil and salt and heat on medium to high temperature.
  2. Once the oil is hot enough, add the popcorn kernels and sugar. (To test the temperature of the oil, add 2-3 kernels. If they pop, your oil is ready!)
  3. Cover the pot. After 30 seconds, remove from heat and shake lightly for 10 seconds, then return to heat. Repeat every 2 minutes until the kernels are done popping. Set aside.
  4. Rinse the millet quickly, drain, and shake in a strainer to remove as much moisture as possible.
  5. In a separate pot, bring water to a boil, add salt, stir in millet, lower heat, and simmer covered for 30 minutes.
  6. Add additional salt or sugar to taste, depending on preference.
  7. Transfer the millet mixture to a skillet and toast over medium heat until the grains dry, separate, and are fragrant. Set aside.
  8. Add the peanuts to the skillet and toast at medium heat until fragrant, stirring constantly .
  9. Next, mix the peanuts and millet together, then starting with popcorn, add layers to your bottle or container, alternating between the popcorn, millet, and nuts until the container is full.
  10. Shake and enjoy!

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