Batikers

Batik (pronounced ba-teek) is an ancient handmade fabric art. During the batik process, hot batik wax is painted or stamped onto fabric, which is then dyed. After one or more dyeings, the batik wax is removed, revealing differently colored patterns and designs. Cracks in the batik wax give patterns the "crackled" look so unique to a batik.
Global Mamas
Aggie Cole Arthur, a Global Mama since 2005

“To me, prosperity is working hard, improving, and dreaming big. My dreams for my daughter are very big.”

 

Meet Aggie: A former teacher, she is a lifelong learner. And she instills that value in her family and the workers she employs. In 2000, Aggie set aside six months to learn batiking and since then she hasn’t stopped using her hands to design one-of-a-kind prints. She joined Global Mamas when she needed it most, as her husband’s return to school made Aggie the sole provider for their family. Without losing her positive and helpful attitude, Aggie managed her business, raised her daughter, and studied for classes at the same time. Aggie graduated with a degree in Management from the University of Cape Coast, earning her the Cape Coast Global Mamas Initiative award for 2012. With the daily goal of increasing her business and reaching more customers, Aggie likes to think and dream big. Her impact as a business owner isn’t limited to satisfying her customers, she says.

 

Aggie takes pride in her ability to employ women to aid in her batiking shop. “So, in a word, I am reducing the unemployment in my country.”

 
Betty Cudjoe, a Global Mama since 2009

“To me prosperity is not only monetary, but a state of mind. I am not begging. I work for food. I work for clothing. I work for satisfaction. Because of this, I have prosperity.”

 

Meet Betty: A batiker, Betty started work with Global Mamas after a founding member and close friend introduced her to the organization. Since then, she has always “enjoyed the freedom and dignity” that comes from her work with Global Mamas. While working with the organization, Betty received enough income to help her husband finish building both his house and her workshop. When not batiking, Betty uses colorful beads to handcraft necklaces, bracelets and more.

 

“As a batiker, I combine colors and designs throughout the day. And then, at the end of the week when the cloth is hanging on the line, you stand at the back and feel very satisfied that you have produced something for people who want your work.”

 
Cecilia Dontwi Dick, a Global Mama since 2007

“To me, prosperity is peace and life. Prosperity is my children finishing education and working.”

 

Meet Cecilia: Ever since learning to batik in 2000, Cecilia has loved using her hands to create colorful designs. Her favorite batik design is the Global Mamas Daisy Star pattern. Cecilia has experienced business success and growth since partnering with Global Mamas in 2007. She has been able to send her children to high-quality private schools and buy land in the hopes of one day opening a batiking school there. She credits this success to her fair trade training, which she received when joining the organization. “Fair trade taught me how to care for my employees, their health, and the environment.” Cecilia can name and discuss almost all 10 fair trade principles in depth.

 

“My proudest accomplishment since joining Global Mamas has been acquiring land for my family and business. Being able to pay for my children’s education has also been an accomplishment."

 
Christina Pufuaba, a Global Mama since 2011

“To me, prosperity is when you are hardworking. If you are not hardworking, you cannot prosper. You will be the same as you were.”

 

Meet Christina: Christina identifies deeply with her work; when asked to describe herself in one word, Christina simply answered “batiker.” After schooling, she was employed to batik under another Global Mama. Through skill and hard work, she was able to join Global Mamas herself in 2011. Her favorite pattern to produce is pineapple, saying “If you give me thousands of yards that need to be pineapples, I will do it in one week for you. I love that design!” Christina’s proudest accomplishment is saving enough money to purchase a tin roof for her batiking workshop, allowing her to stamp patterns in the rain. In her free time, Christina loves to visit the elderly of her church and sing to them.

 

“I dream for my children, I’ll help them during their education to help them go higher. I work for my children.”

 
Elizabeth Ampiah, Co-Founder, a Global Mama since 2003

“To me, prosperity is having your family and being able to take them to school and having a place for them to live. Prosperity is based in the family.”

 

Meet Elizabeth: One of the founding Mamas, Elizabeth has been batiking since 1995. After attending batik school with fellow Mama Emma, she used her knowledge of batiking to create designs that she entered into a trade show. When she was picked as one of the six finalists in the show, Elizabeth knew she had found her calling. “My pay went up and my happiness went up after I started batiking.” She opened up a shop with Emma, but when batiking became a highly competitive industry in Ghana, the store struggled as larger customers delayed their payment for months. All of this changed when Emma and Elizabeth became founding members of Global Mamas, setting an example of hard work and smart business for all future Mamas. Elizabeth notes that many other Mamas respect her current business, EliAma, because she and her partner have proven that a business in batiking is sustainable and profitable.

 

“I know I will have achieved prosperity when I am fully dependent on myself and no longer dependent on other people.”

 
Elizabeth Asem, a Global Mama since 2011

“To me, prosperity is achieving all good that is pertaining to life.”

 

Meet Elizabeth: Elizabeth first heard about Global Mamas through a friend and has been a Mama since 2012. When she started as an independent seamstress, she found most of her work to have unreliable pay. She has since found more security in pay and work since batiking for Global Mamas. Global Mamas has already helped Elizabeth support her family; she is now able to help her husband to pay for her two kids to go through school and onto University. Elizabeth is also able to pay the fees for her sister’s nursing school. Her daughter, Gifty, helps Elizabeth with her batiking. Gifty hopes to one day be a teacher, but is happy to be working with the Mamas today. In the future, Elizabeth is planning to save money in order to build herself a workshop at her house.

 

To her customers who are wearing her masterpieces, Elizabeth urges you to “Keep on wearing the African way!” 

 
Emma Myers, Co-Founder & Batiker, a Global Mama since 2003

Emma and Elizabeth were a dynamic duo from the beginning, forging a fast friendship as employees on an assembly line 23 years ago and enrolling in Batiking School together. After graduation they opened “Eli-Emma Batik & Tye-Dye,” but when batiking became a highly competitive industry in Ghana, the store struggled as larger customers delayed their payment for months. All of this changed when Emma and Eli became founding members of Global Mamas, setting an example of hard work and smart business for all future Mamas. Nearly ten years and many orders later, Eli and Emma remain model Mamas while supporting families of their own.  Voicing the very mission of Global Mamas, Eli and Emma share that, “we are proud to be independent women.”

 
Faustina "Faustie" Tetteh, a Global Mama since 2011

 

“Prosperity means being in good health, owning property, cars, a store… and living a life that is pleasing to God Almighty!”

 

Meet Faustie: Batiker Faustie heard about Global Mamas when she worked near our former site in the town of Prampram. Though she knew how to tie dye fabrics, Faustie asked a friend to train her in batiking so that she could interview for a batiking position at Global Mamas. Since she joined the organization, Faustie says she’s enjoyed learning many batik designs; her favorites are roses and hydrangea. She’d like to eventually own her own batik shop and hopes to continue learning business skills. When Faustie speaks about how she’s working towards her ultimate dream—visiting the U.S.—her eyes light up. In the meantime, she helps support her elder son, a welder, and encourages her younger son, a teacher, to further his university education.

 

I want to help my children's educational background so it will be better than mine.

 

 
Faustina Antwi, a Global Mama since 2009

A native of Cape Coast, Faustina Antwi is one of the most educated batikers working for Global Mamas. She completed her tertiary education at Kunst University, located in Kumasi. Although majoring in textiles, she gravitated towards batiking. She enjoys the creative dimension involved and likes working with the many colors. She lives and works out of the home that she grew up in, living with her parents and sister. Here she has a substantial amount of space where she and her apprentice can work and she can also save money to pay back her college loans. Faustina was drawn to the philosophy of Global Mamas and appreciates their efforts in providing a comprehensive education for all of their women. She has personally taken an interest in bookkeeping and the general methods of efficiency, applying both to her business. The future looks bright for Faustina, as she hopes to attain her Masters degree in textiles and open subsequent shops that will generate a significant output.

 
Georgina "Gina" Abra Afenyo, a Global Mama since 2007

Georgina “Gina” Afenyo has proved to be a talented batiker and weaver, but she makes the greatest impact through her role as a teacher. When she is not batiking for Global Mamas, Gina trains apprentices at her shop and educates hundreds of girls in her craft at the local high school. Understanding the importance of education, Gina encouraged all of her employees and apprentices to go back to school, even though it means she now works alone. In addition to her indirect support of her many protégées, Gina financially supports multiple people outside of her immediate family. When asked about Global Mamas, Gina tells us, “They have supported me a lot. Global Mamas is regular with payment and orders.”

 
Grace Osabutey, a Global Mama since 2012

“I feel that I’ve worked for prosperity and that I have achieved it.”

 

Meet Grace: After completing junior high school, Grace enrolled in a vocational school to learn how to batik. Following graduation, she heard about the opportunity to join Global Mamas from a friend. Grace enjoys her work at Global Mamas; she says she prefers the dyes because they don’t fade over time and she loves seeing her fabrics transformed into products. Her favorite batik designs are zig zag and fisheye; Grace also designed her own pattern for a contest to create a uniform for seamstresses and batikers in Ashaiman. Grace dreams of one day opening her own large batik shop. When she’s not batiking at Global Mamas, Grace enjoys spending time with her daughter Clementina and supporting her dream of becoming a doctor.

 

“I like working in teams and trying new techniques together.”

 

 
Jennifer Benedicta Ocran, a Global Mama since 2007

Jennifer Benedicta Ocran is a born entrepreneur and will do what it takes to make her career goals a reality. She attended more than a year of batik schooling to earn her certification, and then worked in tie-dye to earn enough income to invest in her own expensive batik equipment. Now that she has established herself as a successful batiker and Global Mama, Jennifer is pursuing her dream of opening a catering and wedding planning business. She attends catering school while continuing the work that pays for her education, splitting her days between batiking, going to class, studying, and helping out friends and family members. Jennifer beams when she talks about her success so far and her big business plans for the future, “With God on our side we can do all number of things.” 

 
Joyce Aboagye, a Global Mama since 2007

Joyce Aboagye, a batiker with Global Mamas, is enjoying the new business of selling her creations abroad. She grew up in the Eastern Region of Ghana but eventually moved to the Central Region where she met her auto-electrician husband. Cape Coast soon became her home where she opened her own seamstress and batiking business, El-Shadaye Fashion and Batik. With the help of her Global Mamas sales, Joyce is sending her two boys, ages six and nine, to a local school as well as employing four junior apprentices. According to Joyce, who was introduced to Global Mamas by a seamstress friend, "Global Mamas is good. We need more customers from abroad." Joyce has been fortunate to keep all of her old clients, and her business is continuing to do very well. For Joyce, the most engaging part of her work is developing new designs and, of course, wearing them around the Cape Coast area. She believes non-governmental organizations (NGOs), like Global Mamas, are a great way to empower women and offer them a way to provide more for their families.

 
Juliana Mustafa, a Global Mama since 2005

Juliana Mustafa is a talented artisan who has established herself as one of Global Mamas finest Cape Coast batikers, but she proudly explains that she is a “mother first and a batiker second.” While her family is most important to her, Juliana is also a successful businesswoman, grateful to Global Mamas for their help,growing her business. “They have organized training and health care programs for us.” She says, “They pay for bulk orders completely, which has helped me buy a car.” However, Juliana nearly always speaks of batiking and business in the context of how it has helped her family, “I am proud of being able to send my children and 5 year old niece to school.  I am able to meet all my children's needs.”

 
Louisa Dadzie, a Global Mama since 2004

“To me, prosperity is having my own house, something to eat, and moving on smoothly in life.”

 

Meet Louisa: While still in high school, Louisa spent two years as a batiking apprentice with Global Mamas cofounders Eli and Emma. She absolutely loved working with them, and now she owns her own batiking workshop with two employees. Just as she has grown through Global Mamas, Louisa has also witnessed Global Mamas grow and include more women in their network over the years. She makes products for both her local market as well as women around the world. Because of her work with Global Mamas, she has been able to save up enough money to build her own house in Cape Coast. She is an enthusiastic Yoga Mama – on the weekends, she takes classes at the Global Mamas office. Louisa also enjoys leading batiking workshops. She comments on the reciprocal relationship she has with other Mamas by saying, “I teach other women how to batik, but I learn from them as well.”

 
Martha Rhule, a Global Mama since 2010

“To me, prosperity is working hard and getting more money for my family.”

 

Meet Martha: Martha began her business as both a batiker and seamstress, selling products out of her workshop. After Melanie Popowich introduced her to Global Mamas, she consolidated her business to only batiking. Early on in her career with Global Mamas, many of Martha’s products were rejected due to patchy coloring. But other Mamas convinced her to not give up – and she’s glad she didn’t! Martha practiced and developed her skill, and her hard work paid off. She won the Batikers Award at the 2010 Design Competition for her pebble pattern and was named the Global Mama of the Year in 2014. Martha is now able to pay her rent with ease thanks to Global Mamas, and she has taken in one employee and many apprentices. She hopes to continue producing batik for Global Mamas and to earn enough money to help her seven nieces and nephews complete their educations.

 
Mary Koomson, a Global Mama since 2008

“To me, prosperity is everything that is good in life: family, work, happiness, money.”

 

Meet Mary: A batiker, Mary joined Global Mamas because of its community of women. One of Mary’s favorite aspects of the organization is that through fair trade empowerment, she has learned essential skills such as book keeping and better business practices. She is thankful that Global Mamas worked with her to ensure she had all the necessary batiking materials. She is a self-proclaimed ‘convincer,’ and her proudest accomplishment has been convincing non-Ghanaians to wear her African wear, because it shares her culture with the world. Following a day’s work, Mary enjoys spending time with her family and sharing a meal of banku or red red. One day, she hopes to visit the United States because, “[The United States] is a land of dreams, and I like it very much.”

 

“My proudest business achievement since partnering with Global Mamas is buying a large plot of land for my family.”

 
Mavis Thompson, a Global Mama since 2004

Born and raised in Cape Coast, Mavis Thompson’s story is one of renewed hope. She started batiking in 1989 and soon after opened her own shop called “Press on Towards the Goal.” After experiencing initial success, Mavis was forced to close her shop when a shrinking customer base made it impossible for her to afford the expensive batiking supplies she needed. Mavis was selling lace and curtains by the side of the road when she found Global Mamas, and since then Global Mamas has provided Mavis with a steady income and the means to buy daily food. Mavis is pleased with this change in her situation. “Global Mamas is good,” she says. “They help us. They have given us work to do.”

 
Patricia Tandoh, a Global Mama since 2009

Patricia Tandoh began her batiking career as an apprentice for founding Mamas Eli and Emma, but she never dreamed she would become a Global Mama herself. After years of witnessing how Eli and Emma’s businesses and lives had improved with the help of Global Mamas, Patricia finally sent in her application.  "The day that Global Mamas accepted my application was the happiest day of my life.” She says, “I am happy now, because I can control my career and I love the independence that Global Mamas has given me." The benefits of the partnership are mutual, as Patricia recently created a new design for Global Mamas and continues to create beautiful products.

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