Seamstresses

The seamstresses of Global Mamas are talented dressmakers operating their own businesses in Cape Coast, Prampram, Ashaiman, and Akuse. Many of the Mamas continue to use hand-powered sewing machines. This not only preserves more traditional sewing, but is useful for working through the frequent power outages which are characteristic of West Africa. Many Mamas have learned this craft through structured classes, apprenticeships, or passed through families from previous generations.
Global Mamas
Alice Frimpong, a Global Mama since 2012

“Prosperity means achieving my goals. My major goal is to become an international fashion designer. I would also give back to my society by helping young people in Ghana.”

 

Meet Alice: A graduate of fashion school, Alice dreams of traveling outside Ghana to learn about fashion trends in other countries. These days, she’s a seamstress at Global Mamas while building her own business, Icelyn Collection, on the weekends. Alice enjoys working with her fellow Mamas because of the learning and support they offer one another. She’s especially appreciated the opportunity to learn how to use a pattern and how to finish a dress using special stitching. Her favorite product to make is the Eli dress—not only does she enjoy sewing it, but she thinks it’s a cute style!

 

To the women around the world wearing her products, Alice says, “We produce good and high-quality products, so keep buying from us!”

 

 
Alice Korsah, Co-Founder, a Global Mama since 2003

“I will know I have achieved prosperity when I have made enough opportunities for myself to achieve my goals.”

 

Meet Alice: Invited to partner with Global Mamas in 2005 by one of Global Mamas' former volunteers, Alice is one of the few Mamas who has worked as both a seamstress and a batiker for an extended period of time. To Alice, sewing is both an occupation and a passion. She has earned a strong reputation among her customers for the timely and high-quality products she provides with support from Global Mamas. Sewing is also a family business for Alice, who employs a handful of family members. After a day of sewing, Alice unwinds by listening to gospel music. 

 

 “Being a seamstress is not just my job, it is my hobby. I really love it.”

 
Anastasia Larvie, a Global Mama since 2007

Anastasia Larvie couldn’t be happier working for Trashy Bags. Not only is she a fan of the products, but she loves how her work is helping Ghana. After living in Anloga, located in Ghana's Volta Region, selling kaklo with her mother, Anastasia moved to Accra to be with her father at age 14. He was determined to have her attend school when she came to live with him, which she did. In 2006, Anastasia completed her vocational school training as a seamstress. Now, married and with a child, Anastasia works as much as possible to support her family, and tries to save enough money to visit her mother in Anloga as often as she can. She feels fortunate to have received the opportunity to work with Trashy Bags and has high hopes for the organization’s growth.

 
Anthony Horlu, a Global Mama since 2007

Anthony Horlu’s dedication to quality makes him a perfect fit at Trashy Bags. For Anthony, it’s not just about quality in the product, but quality in education and work. Anthony spent 12 years of his life voluntarily teaching tailoring at a vocational school in Ho, Ghana. The community’s support for the school had dwindled, but he was determined to make sure students received a decent education in a useful trade. When Anthony moved to Accra, he opened a small sewing kiosk. He was often frustrated by his customers’ and employees’ lack of appreciation for quality, but did what he had to do to support his wife and children. Trashy Bags provided Anthony with a loan to send his oldest son, Eugene, to secondary school in Koforidua. He is very thankful for the benefits he has received through the organization. Additionally, Anthony loves the environmental and economical benefits Trashy Bag provides for the community.  “Trashy is creating jobs!” he says.  

 

 
Bessie Cramer, a Global Mama since 2004

“To me, prosperity is dependent on my work. When I have many apprentices training under me, I will be prosperous.”

 

Meet Bessie: Producing a variety of items such as tablecloths, placemats, napkins, potholders, and headbands, Bessie has a passion for sewing and a passion for Global Mamas. “I love working with Global Mamas because I am always busy,” she said. Part of the organization since 2003, Bessie cannot choose a favorite product that she makes – she likes them all. Providing for her three kids, Bessie not only sends them to school, but also cooks for them. “I like cooking for my children, you know, because everybody likes food. Everybody!” she said. One day, Bessie hopes to move production out of her home and own a shop in Cape Coast.

 

“I’d rather be working than relaxing. I love being busy, sewing products, never sitting down.”

 
Charity Charway, a Global Mama since 2012

“To me, prosperity means putting in the time and effort to learn more skills and earn more money. The harder you work, the more that comes to you.”

 

Meet Charity: After graduating from junior high school, Charity trained as an apprentice to a seamstress for three and a half years. She was sewing out of her home when a friend told her about Global Mamas; she was hired after sewing a perfect Retro dress as part of the interview process. Today, Charity enjoys working in Ashaiman’s team-based model. She’s on the Modern Ladies team, working with her fellow seamstresses to produce products like the Velcro baskets. She looks forward to catching up with her teammates on Monday mornings, discussing episodes of their favorite soap opera. Outside of Global Mamas, Charity and her husband care for their two children, Jennifer and Jonathan. She dreams that her son will become a pilot and hopes that Jennifer will become an engineer.

 

To women around the world wearing her products, Charity has a practical message: “Your purchases help Global Mamas purchase new sewing machines and continue to grow.”

 

 
Charity Okine, a Global Mama since 2011

“Prosperity means becoming a globally trained fashion designer with international connections.”

 

Meet Charity: As a sewing team leader at Global Mamas, Charity has the opportunity to teach her fellow seamstresses new skills. Charity has appreciated the opportunity to learn to make Western-style apparel and home décor in addition to her expertise in traditional Ghanaian clothing. Someday, she hopes to go to the United States to study fashion. When she’s not at Global Mamas, she’s training apprentices in her own shop, called His Majesty Fashion, or singing in her church choir. She and her husband own a home where they live with their son and daughter. Charity enjoys cooking jollof rice, a spicy Ghanaian specialty.

 

I want my children to get an education and good jobs so they can take care of my husband and me!

 

 
Charlotte Bart-Plange, a Global Mama since 2005

Charlotte Bart-Plange has been dedicated to a career since she first took sewing classes in elementary school, and after 35 years of being a seamstress Charlotte still says, “I love it.” This Mama enjoys exploring her creative side as a seamstress by inventing new designs and adding unique touches to each of her pieces. Though this range of talent attracts a broad client base, it was the additional income and support from Global Mamas that allowed Charlotte to send her son to University. She beams when she says her son graduated in Finance and now holds a good job in Accra. Now Charlotte wants to help even more people, telling us that, “I would like to make my hometown nice and beautiful.”

 
Comfort Pufaba Yakubu, a Global Mama since 2006

Comfort is only 26, but she has already set up her own sewing business, Prince of Light. By the time she arrives for work at 9 am, the one-room workshop has been opened and swept by her two apprentices – Hannah and Sarah. Their workbenches and hand-driven sewing machines spill out of the room onto a tiny shaded verandah. The premises of Prince of Light may be small but Comfort is proud to own – not rent – the workshop.

At the moment, Comfort divides her time between making tops for Global Mamas and private commissions. She enjoys designing her own clothes, but the walls of the workshop are plastered with posters of different styles for customers to choose from as well.

Evenings are generally spent at home with her mother and sister. Supper is normally a bowl of tuo zafi, a traditional Ghanaian food staple Comfort calls TZ . It's a doughy mixture of ground maize, ground cassava, and water served with a vegetable-based stew. After supper, Comfort particularly enjoys watching Nollywood movies, straight-to-video films produced in rapid turnover in Nigeria. When she's not watching TV, Comfort enjoys listening to Gospel music and spends all of Sunday mornings at her local Catholic church.

 
Cynthia Essiaw , a Global Mama since 2009

“I will know I have achieved prosperity each and every year! At the end of each year, I will look at my accomplishments and find what I have done that year to be prosperous.”

 

Meet Cynthia: A Mama since 2010, Cynthia is a seamstress that specializes in making men’s fitted shirts. She went to school for some time after joining Global Mamas, taking time to learn high-quality stitching. Through her time working with the organization, she has been able to support her younger sister through secondary education. She describes herself as “calm,” and is quick to laugh and make a joke. “If I could talk to someone across the world that is wearing my clothes,” she said, “I would tell them they look good!” Cynthia enjoys cooking palm nut soup and attending church with her husband.

 

“I push myself towards perfection in my stitching; sewing for Global Mamas has made me a better seamstress.”

 
Cynthia Gabianu, a Global Mama since 2008

Cynthia Gabianu started out her trade as a seamstress by working as an apprentice back in 2003. In 2008, she heard from a Peace Corps volunteer about the cooperative in Ho hiring seamstresses, and she has now been working with it ever since. The main aspect that she appreciates about working with the cooperative is that she can count on getting paid. She is the sole provider for herself and her daughter, Liticia Logo, and things were very difficult for them when Cynthia wasn't able to depend on a steady paycheck. She hopes to run her own shop someday and send her daughter to school to become a doctor.

 
Deborah Ababio, a Global Mama since 2011

“To me prosperity is working hard. When you do your work, you prosper. Global Mamas has helped because at the end of the day, I have more profit.”

 

Meet Deborah: Deborah grew up in a community of seamstresses and came to Global Mamas at the recommendation of her friend, a fellow Mama. Now, Deborah creates gift and laundry bags for Global Mamas. Not only is she a full-time seamstress but she’s a full-time mom. When she gets a chance to relax at home, Deborah likes to watch cartoons with her two sons. She hopes to give them the best education because, as she says, “If a child has a good education, he will have more opportunities.” Deborah has made it a priority to take advantage of the opportunities she’s had in life, and she is proud to be an entrepreneur, owning her own shop.

 

Deborah describes her greatest personal achievement: “When you own your own shop, oh that one - anything can happen!”

 
Deborah Asmah, a Global Mama since 2009

“To me, prosperity is taking small steps toward happiness.”

 

Meet Deborah: For Deborah, success is incremental. She views her business as a seamstress as a series of small accomplishments that, after years of hard work, will lead her to prosperity. “Moving from one step to another is the key to my happiness, and happiness is my goal.” She pursued her dream of becoming a seamstress by attending a vocational school where she was able to develop many specialized techniques that helped to elevate her as a master seamstress. When not working and goal setting, Deborah enjoys banku and okru stew, her favorite Ghanaian foods. She encourages Americans and Europeans to try these foods as well, because “they will be surprised how delicious Ghana’s food is.”

 

“My proudest achievement since joining Global Mamas is the creative designs I’ve come up with for bags and dresses.”

 
Diana Ayiku, a Global Mama since 2011

“Prosperity means continuing to learn and grow—pushing yourself to do more. I see it in myself and in Global Mamas: as Global Mamas prospers, so do I.”

 

Meet Diana: Diana completed junior high school and apprenticed as a seamstress for three years before she was recruited by Global Mamas. Prior to working with Global Mamas, Diana’s focus was on making clothing, so she’s enjoyed learning how to make a broader range of products, especially our bags. Diana has been able to pass on her knowledge of sewing to new seamstresses—skills such as using an electric sewing machine (most sewing machines in Ghana are hand-powered) and following a pattern. Her colleagues admire her lightheartedness, especially when she dances at her workstation for a little mid-day exercise. Diana and her husband have three children, Christable, Enoch, and Vicencia, and she hopes to see them continue school and become independent with good jobs.

 

To those interested in Global Mamas products, Diana says, “We make good products—you have to buy them!”

 

 
Dora Eyumu, a Global Mama since 2012

“If you continue to learn and grow, you’ll prosper. To me, prosperity means to see my children through the best schools so they can achieve their dreams.”

 

Meet Dora: Having completed education through the 4th grade, Dora opened her own sewing shop more than 13 years ago. A mother of four girls—Rose, Wata, Nicey, and Prosper—Dora is passing her sewing skills to her children just as her mother passed them to her. She came to work for Global Mamas at the recommendation of her sister, also a Global Mamas seamstress. Since joining Global Mamas, Dora has enjoyed learning how to make products following patterns (most seamstresses in Ghana make clothing freehand). Her favorite products to sew are skirts.

 

“I’m proud to sew for Global Mamas. My life has changed since I started working here. I have more financial freedom and am better able to support my girls.”

 

 
Edem Homado, a Global Mama since 2008

A Global Mama since 2008, Edem became a seamstress in late 2007 but already had an eye and an appreciation for quality and creative designs, which is one of the reasons she enjoys working with the cooperative. She currently lives with her parents and they often help her out with caring for her daughter, Philomina, whom Edem hopes will become a nurse someday. She sees herself working with the cooperative for a long time and she feels good about the contribution she is making just through her work.

 
Elizabeth "Esi" Arkaah, a Global Mama since 2007

Elizabeth “Esi” Arkaah hit the ground running after she learned how to sew, opening her own shop and working hard to make it what it is today—a bustling place where multiple apprentices and employees help Esi with enough work to keep them busy all day. Esi loves that Global Mamas carries her products across the globe and wishes her business to improve all the time, not for her own sake but for the benefit of her loved ones. “I want to build a big house in a quiet neighborhood,” she tells us,  “I want all my children to go to university and get their masters [degrees]. I also want to buy my own car and help my family.”

 
Elizabeth Abena Andorful, a Global Mama since 2009

Elizabeth Abena Andorful grew up wanting to learn a trade and soon after she first began sewing Elizabeth recognized her love for it. Elizabeth feels that if she could be doing anything, she would still take the path that she has that lead her to be a seamstress. After apprenticing and working four years for another seamstress, Elizabeth decided to be an independent seamstress. She rented a small place for living and is using the porch as a sewing center, which she named Saint Teresa's Fashion. Renting this space marked what Elizabeth sees as her happiest day. Having her own living space and being a Global Mama since summer of 2009 has allowed Elizabeth to care for and support the most important people to her - her two sons. Elizabeth hopes to one day go back to fashion school and then open her own shop with everything that she learns.

 
Elizabeth Nartey, a Global Mama since 2012

Prosperity means finally being computer literate! The world is being taken over by IT and having no knowledge of IT would be detrimental.”

 

Meet Elizabeth: Elizabeth joined Global Mamas as a seamstress after learning about the organization from a friend. In addition to learning new sewing patterns and skills, Elizabeth really enjoys working in Ashaiman’s team-based workshop. Her team of three seamstresses is called Adom, which means ‘grace’ in the Ghanaian language of Twi. The Adom team coordinates orders together and encourages one another to work hard! Elizabeth’s second son was recently born and she and her husband, a construction worker, believe that education as the key to a successful future. On the weekends, she enjoys cooking a Ghanaian dish called fufu for her family.

 

To the women around the world wearing her products, Elizabeth says, “Thank you for buying our products. You should continue to buy every day and tell a friend to buy Global Mamas too!”

 

 
Ellen Amartey, a Global Mama since 2009

If you ask Ellen Hudges Amartey, she will make sure that you know she is a dressmaker rather than a seamstress. She adamantly describes her occupation as such, because she wants people to recognize the devotion that goes into every dress that she makes. Ellen Amartey has been practicing the skills of a dressmaker since she was in Senior High School and loves everything about sewing, from the beginning cuts to the end product. Ellen works out of her home on the campus of Holy Child, where her husband is a teacher. With the help of two workers and an apprentice, Ellen's machines are constantly in use. In the rare times when Ellen is not sewing or busy with her two children, she likes to read. Ellen hopes to one day establish her own dressmaking school, through which she can teach the younger generation what she has learned about the trade.

 
Elsie Amonoo, a Global Mama since 2012

“To me, prosperity is happiness and being educated.”

 

Meet Elsie: A dreamer, Elsie loves to dream of travelling to South Africa. She admires South African dances and festivals. Elsie admits that she even draws inspiration from South African fashion. A seamstress in Cape Coast, Elsie joined Global Mamas when she was introduced to Wisdom, a Cape Coast employee. Since, Global Mamas has supplied her with men’s shirt orders which greatly increases her business, she says. When not sewing men’s shirts, Elsie loves listening to Hill Songs, her favorite gospel group. Her favorite food is rice and light soup.

 

“My proudest achievement is using my business to pay rent and support my junior brother in school.”

 
Esther Gyepi-Garbrah, Co-Founder, a Global Mama since 2003

Esther Gyepi-Garbrah has come far from when she started working as a seamstress in her bedroom, using a borrowed manual sewing machine. After dealing with customers who delayed payment and export partners who cheated her, Esther is grateful for the reliable business that comes from working with Global Mamas. With her perseverance and dependable work ethic, Esther has maintained a loyal customer base and taught many apprentices over the years.  “Through Global Mamas, I have been able to achieve my dream of helping people.” She says, “Before Global Mamas, my income was limited and I could not afford to help others. I will always appreciate that Global Mamas has helped me help others. They have helped a lot. They have done their best.”

 
Felicia Asente, a Global Mama since 2013

“To me prosperity is to being able to work so I can earn money and make a good living.”

 

Meet Felicia: After Felicia started working with one of the Mamas, she decided to join the community as a seamstress herself. She mainly sews baby blankets and the explorer bag, working in her house on a small hill farther away from the business of the market. Since she first started working with Global Mamas, her sewing skills have improved and she has become a much more efficient producer. Through the training provided by Global Mamas, she has learned more about book keeping and managing her money. With her savings, she was able to buy a new sewing machine and open her own bank account.

 

Felicia has three kids: a 3 year-old, an 8 year old, and a 17 year old. When she’s not sewing and taking care of her children, she sells onions. Even though she spends most of her time working, she’s passionate about what she does. She would also love to sew more in order to develop her skills as well as to grow her business. 

 
Florence "Kakra" Thannie, a Global Mama since 2007

“To me prosperity is buying my industrial sewing machine. It helps me to do my work fast.”

 

Meet Florence: A seamstress, Florence took the advice of a friend and former Mama to apply to work with Global Mamas.  Since starting with the organization, Florence has perfected the design and construction of the weekend bag. She hopes to save enough money to buy more machines and expand her business in the future. In her spare time, she listens to Gospel music and dreams of building a new house where she and her husband can enjoy fufu and light soup on Sunday afternoons.

 

“I want to open a big shop and have apprentices and more customers and to produce more Global Mama products.”

 
Florence Thompson, Co-Founder, a Global Mama since 2003

Before partnering with Global Mamas, Florence Thompson knew she had what it took to be a successful seamstress, but her economic situation made it difficult. Florence was forced to default on a loan and go without electricity for months because she did not have enough money to pay the bills, but all of that changed when she started working with Global Mamas. With over 20 years of sewing experience and the financial jumpstart she needed, today Florence is able to continually improve the quality of her products, do her own bookkeeping, pay her family’s utilities and school fees, and dream for their future. "I pray that one child will be a doctor, one will be a pilot and one will be a journalist," she says.

 
Florence Worwornyo, a Global Mama since 2012

“Presently I see myself as being prosperous because I own a tailoring shop and live independently with no one taking care of my needs. In the future, I want to own a much bigger tailoring workshop, train apprentices, and own a house.”

 

Meet Florence: A seamstress, Florence joined Global Mamas at the recommendation of three of her friends who worked at the organization. As she’s learned new skills, she’s perfected the techniques needed to make her favorite product, the Eli dress, and hopes to keep learning more so that she can continue expanding her existing workshop. While she’s working at Global Mamas, she has two employees back at her workshop. Florence plans to use some of her earnings from Global Mamas to purchase an electric sewing machine for her shop. When not at work, she enjoys relaxing on nearby Legacy Beach with friends.

 

I feel happy when I see people wearing our products. It makes me feel confident and comforted.

 

 

 
Georgina Doku, a Global Mama since 2008

“Prosperity means bringing people together. After that, you prosper by working and being serious about everything you are doing.”

 

Meet Gina: She is a mother first and a businesswoman second. Her business as a seamstress allows her to enroll all of her children in school. She would love for her firstborn to be a doctor, a dream she has long held. Gina would like all of her children to prosper by taking jobs that are “interesting, studious, and pay well.” Gina fondly remembers the day that a Global Mamas representative visited her shop and asked if she would be interested in partnering with Global Mamas. “Of course, I accepted.”

 

“My proudest personal accomplishment is making sure that each of my children can have an education.”

 
Gifty Acquah, a Global Mama since 2007

Gifty Acquah is one of the newest seamstresses to join Global Mamas and is busy creating the Medium Size Tote Bags. Growing up in Cape Coast, Gifty attended St. Mary's Vocational School in the nearby town of Elmina before becoming a year-long apprentice with a local seamstress. After working with Global Mamas for only two months, Gifty says she enjoys it a lot, even if it means working most days from morning until night. With her newfound success as a Global Mama, Gifty has put her added income towards the education of her three children, two boys and one girl. Her two eldest are currently working in Ghana's second largest city, Kumasi, while her twelve-year-old lives and goes to school in Cape Coast. Gifty hopes that Global Mamas will continue growing so that other women in the community will have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of trading goods internationally. She loves to design new clothes, but also would like more time to take up her favorite hobby of reading books. Despite the hard work, Gifty is sure to attend church every Sunday and enjoys spending time with her mother, who visits her home often.

 
Gifty Dzagli, a Global Mama since 2008

Before becoming a seamstress, Gifty Dzagli worked as a house servant. She was often mistreated but she managed to learn to sew in her spare time from another seamstress. After leaving her job as a house servant, she became a seamstress' apprentice to further learn the trade. Gifty has now been with the cooperative in Ho since June 2008. Her family, consisting of her parents and four brothers, are all farmers and she does what she can to help them out. The majority of her income, however, goes to supporting herself and her daughter, Precious, whom she hopes will become a doctor someday.

 
Gladys Annan, a Global Mama since 2012

“To me prosperity is getting a steady income “

 

Meet Gladys: Gladys began her career by working as an apprentice for a Mama for two and a half years. Once she felt confident enough to manage her own business, she joined the Global Mama’s family as a Mama herself. Since 2013, this talented seamstress has owned own shop. Beaming, she claims that “Global Mamas is the biggest change in my life.” Not just a Mama, but also mother of three kids who are in school, Gladys states that Global Mamas is the permanent income she earns in order to provide for her children. Gladys feels very proud of the fact that her products are being appreciated and bought from people all over the world. She is one of the women behind the patchwork wallet and zip wristlet. In addition to being a part of the Global Mamas network, Gladys owns her own shop where she produces dresses for the local market. She loves her job and dreams about being able to develop her business even more.

 

“My dream is to buy my own land and build a house.”

 
Gladys Oduro, a Global Mama since 2008

Gladys Oduro was a seamstress for 10 years before joining Trashy Bags in 2008. She grew up in the Ashanti region of Ghana, near a city called Kumasi, but has now lived in Accra for more than 20 years. Times have been difficult for Gladys, as she is a single mother raising four children. In Ghana, children often work to contribute to the family, even at very young ages. However, her children all have a great desire to stay in school, and Gladys has done her best to ensure they do. She feels very lucky to work with Trashy Bags, predominantly due to her great relationship with her manager. No matter what kind of problems Gladys has, she feels very comfortable asking for assistance from him and knows he’ll do whatever he can to help her.

 
Gloria Amanful, a Global Mama since 2012

“To me prosperity, is achieving whatever you want to do in the future”

 

Meet Gloria: As a mother of a six years old girl, Gloria’s main happiness is to see her daughter healthy and successful. The stable income she has earned since working with Global Mamas has enabled her to add money to her daughter’s savings account.  Indeed, she works hard to save for her daughter so that she is able to cover her university fees and become a nurse. She is one of the women behind the handsome boy shirts and beautiful pocket dresses. She is delighted to know that customers from all over the world are buying her products. Gloria appreciates their loyalty—it makes it possible for all of the Mamas to live a better life.Apart from sewing for Global Mamas, she sews uniforms for the University of Cape Coast.

 

As an ambitious woman, her dream is to open and manage her own clothing factory and keep developing as a seamstress and as an entrepreneur. She remarks: “I am proud of my work and proud of not begging from others.”

 
Grace "Araba" Koufie, a Global Mama since 2006

Grace “Araba” Koufie’s life is filled with activity—in her busy home, her busy workshop, and the busy open air market near where she lives in Cape Coast.  Though she started her seamstress business several years before becoming a Mama, her partnership with Global Mamas allowed Grace to pay off debt and start saving. Now, she earns enough money to cover regular school fees and medical expenses as well as support family members in need. In her own words, "Global Mamas has helped me a lot. Before Global Mamas, I stayed at home doing nothing, but they have provided me with regular business and a regular income.” Grace dreams big—hoping to one day open a bigger shop for more employees and build a bigger home for her family.

 
Grace Adoboe, a Global Mama since 2005

Grace Adoboe had a winding path to her current occupation as a Cape Coast business owner and seamstress for Global Mamas. Grace was born in the Volta Region and lived in Togo for a decade before returning to Ghana to establish her shop in Accra. Now Grace is finally settled with her business and family in Cape Coast, where she acknowledges, “I am a busy lady.” This Mama’s main focus is school uniforms and her main priority is customer satisfaction, as she often sacrifices her personal time to get a job done and ensure it is done correctly. This strategy has paid off for Grace, and she explains that, “Global Mamas has helped a lot. With my income, I can help my family and my husband.”

 
Hajeretu Ahmed, a Global Mama since 2007

Growing up in Ayona-Swedru, Ghana, life was difficult for Hajeretu Ahmed. In Ayona-Swedru, Hajeretu worked as a seamstress, supporting both herself and her mother, who had large medical bills. In 2003, she went to live with her brother in Accra and began working as a maid for a family who only paid her enough for necessities and to visit her mother once a year.  After a series of low-income jobs, she heard about Trashy Bags, and has now been working with the organization since 2007 as a seamstress. Her goal at the moment is to find out a way to get her mother’s medical condition fixed permanently. She hopes that by continuing to work with Trashy Bags, she can eventually reach this goal.

 
Hannah Dodoo, Co-Founder, a Global Mama since 2003

“My prosperity is not only financial, but involves health, community, religion, family, and sharing. Sharing my prosperity makes me prosper.”

 

Meet Hannah: One of the six Ghanaian co-founders, Hannah has helped shape Global Mamas into the organization it is now. Hannah is a seamstress who creates styles from her broad range of experiences abroad. She draws on her knowledge from Ghana, America and Germany where she learned to sew in 1976. Six years after learning to sew, she opened a shop in Cape Coast where her family resides. When not working, Hannah enjoys scrapbooking and reminiscing over her time on business trips abroad. And while her business has brought her prosperity, she maintains that her comfort and well-being come from more than just her job.

 

“If I have ever achieved, it has been because I share my talents with others. When I share my talents, it makes me happy. So I share my happiness with others.”

 
Hawa Mohammed, a Global Mama since 2007

Though Hawa Mohammed is one of the youngest workers at Trashy Bags, she has quite a large amount of responsibility in her life. She currently lives with her stepmother in Accra, of whom she has been taking care since her father passed away in 2006. Hawa is also supporting her younger brothers and sisters who live in her hometown of Techiman, Ghana. They constantly tell her how much they miss her, but are grateful for the opportunity she received in starting at Trashy Bags. Hawa plans to work at Trashy Bags until she raises enough money to attend catering school. Her ultimate dream is to have her own restaurant someday. She appreciates both the wage she earns and the working conditions of Trashy Bags, but what she appreciates most is how everyone is treated like family rather than employees.

 

 
Isabella Amoah Kwa, a Global Mama since 2009

“I will be prosperous when I do not need anything, apart from needing God. To me, prosperity means living responsibly and happily.”

 

Meet Isabella: A seamstress that specializes in men’s fitted shirts, Isabella joined Global Mamas due to a friend’s recommendation. Since joining the organization, Isabella is very proud to be able to pay her rent while also sending her own daughter and her brother’s daughter to school.  “I hope that my kids graduate school with flying colors to become prominent people,” she said. In her spare time, Isabella enjoys knitting, cooking banku (with extra spice!) and listening to gospel music. Self-described as “always happy,” Isabella is never without a laugh or a smile.

 

“Ghana is a great place. I feel proud that the things that I’ve done here in Ghana have reached so far around the world.”

 
Issifu Asana, a Global Mama since 2008

At the young age of 26, Issifu Asana became the manager of the sewing co-operative in Ho. Issifu, who is both Togolese and Ghanaian, attended trade school to learn to sew. She began working with the co-operative in June 2008, and had already been a seamstress for 3 years by the time she started. She used to work just for herself but found that working in the co-operative has provided more business, and she enjoys the companionship of everyone who works there! Issifu has spent most of her life in Ho, growing up with two brothers and three sisters. She has a twin sister who is a hairdresser and batiker. She currently lives by herself but often helps out her mother and father.

 
Jennifer Thompson , a Global Mama since 2009

 

Jennifer Thompson is a woman with a quiet voice but a loud heart. She learned how to sew in the small village where she was born. Recently, this hobby turned into a career when she teamed up with Global Mamas. Jennifer's husband passed away, leaving her to care for and support her three children. Jennifer recalls this time in her life and tearfully remembers, "Global Mamas has been the most important thing in my life, because they were the only ones to help me when my husband died. Global Mamas is a great company, because they help many women and they saved me. To me, Global Mamas means 'great mother'." Through Global Mamas Jennifer has learned about book-keeping, financial independence, and finance responsibility. These new skills, along with the orders she gets from Global Mamas, have nearly doubled Jennifer's income and has enabled her to dream of accomplishing even bigger things. Jennifer hopes to be a "big woman" who has multiple shops and is able to train others to be seamstresses. She also dreams of being able to buy a school so that she can provide children with a proper education without the burden of school fees. On the seldom occasion when Jennifer is not working, she enjoys singing songs and simply going to the seaside and watching the ocean.

 
Joanna Minnow, a Global Mama since 2007

Joanna Minnow has always used her talent to help others, beginning when she would make clothes for her friends and family as a young girl. When she started sewing as a career, Jennifer could barely afford her one sewing machine or the rent for her workspace, but then her friend introduced her to Global Mamas. Now that she works as a seamstress for Global Mamas, Joanna has her own apprentices, a handful of sewing machines and a weaving machine. Joanna is pleased not only with her successes but her ability to keep serving others. Joanna says that, “Global Mamas has provided me with plenty of work and regular income, allowing me to help the needy people in my church by providing them with food, clothes, and more. I love kids and I love to help them.”

 
Justina Richmond, a Global Mama since 2011

 

“I would see myself as prosperous when I own my house and my own tailoring shop.”

 

Meet Justina: A seamstress who loves to make aprons and potholders, Justina learned to sew from her mother, with whom she apprenticed before being recruited by Global Mamas. During her apprenticeship, Global Mamas came to her mother’s shop and recruited Justina. As she continues to learn new techniques, Justina dreams of one day owning her own shop. Justina spends her weekends singing at her church and teaching young children traditional African dances. Their dance troupe travels around West Africa and hopes to make their first international trip to Greece.

 

“I would like to thank our Global Mamas customers very much. They buy our products, which allows us to keep working and learning new skills.”

 

 
Matilda Mills, a Global Mama since 2010

Matilda became a seamstress because she wanted to express her independent style. She joined Global Mamas in January 2010, after founding her business two years before. Matilda now employs one worker and two apprentices. With the income she earns from her dressmaking shop she supports her parents and five siblings. Matilda enjoys singing in her free time. She dreams of being a "big woman" someday with her own car and house.

 
Molly Linda Djan, a Global Mama since 2006

A step into Molly Djan’s apartment block and it reveals the organized chaos of her life as a Global Mama. Several sewing machines whir through patterned dresess and reversible aprons while an apprentice irons finished work and friends stop by to say hello. Molly is busy all day in Cape Coast while she fills orders, manages her current employees, and trains new ones; she is busy on the weekends too when she travels an hour and a half to visit her family in Winneba. This activity energizes Molly, as she tells us “I am proud of my work and giving my niece the opportunity to go to university.”

 
Olivia Apenuvor, a Global Mama since 2008

In 2007, Olivia decided to make some changes in her life. She had been working at a roofing tile factory, and while the pay was decent, the working conditions were difficult. When she heard about Trashy Bags, she felt it was the perfect opportunity work as a seamstress, a trade she actually enjoys. She has come to appreciate so many things about working at Trashy Bags, where she has been employed since 2008. On top of the wage she receives, she is also given a stipend towards transportation to and from work. While her daughter, Divine, lives in the city of Kumasi with her uncle, Olivia was able to save enough money to move into her own place with her younger daughter Francesca.

 

 
Philomena Stephens, a Global Mama since 2007

Philomina Stephens enjoys her work as a seamstress and shop owner, but what she loves about being a Mamas is knowing that the products she sews travel all over the world. It means a lot to Philomina that her name is written on the tags of the clothing she works so hard to sew. Realizing this tag also makes her accountable for her products, Philomina demands high standards from herself and from her employees. These standards have brought her a growing client base and the opportunity to open her own shop, as she says, “Global Mamas has helped a lot. Income is good from Global Mamas.”

 
Regina Abbey, a Global Mama since 2012

“Prosperity means being able to go back to school to finish my education—even get a bachelor’s degree. It also means being able to own a house and send my children to schools abroad.”

 

Meet Regina: a mother of four, Regina’s seamstress skills have enabled her to earn enough money to purchase a home. Much of her energy is focused on her family, as Ghanaians are required to pay tuition to send their children to primary and secondary school. With one daughter away at boarding school and her eldest considering studying to be a car mechanic, seeing her children excel has given Regina a renewed curiosity about her own education. “When my children are grown and gone I will go back to school. I’d like to take many different classes, just to see what I like!”

 

“My hope is for all my children to make their way in the world with choices and independence.”

 

 
Risi Kafu Yalaya, a Global Mama since 2007

After 25 years of living in Nigeria, Risi Kafu Yalaya came back to Ghana, her home country, with her two children and a bag of their belongings. She had built a life in Nigeria, but after the death of her husband, she knew things would be easier back in Ghana. Risi started selling cosmetics by the roadside to support her family, but due to competition, business was quite difficult. She had taught herself to sew in Nigeria, so when she heard about a job at Trashy Bags, she was determined to get it. She joined Trashy Bags in 2007 and quickly took on a mentoring role, teaching some of the other employees how to sew so they could be promoted. Her children, Fatima and Rofia, attend Medina Islamic School, and in order to pay the school fees, Risi was able to take out a loan from Trashy Bags. She is paying it back with each paycheck. Risi loves the work she does at Trashy Bags and prays every day for its continued success.

 

 
Roseline Quartey, a Global Mama since 2012

“Prosperity means being able to purchase the things my family needs to live.

 

Meet Roseline: Roseline has been a seamstress since she finished fashion school. She lives near the Global Mamas Ashaiman office and would often see an employee, Maria, walking to work. She stopped Maria one day to find out where she worked and heard about Global Mamas. Later that week, Roseline brought in samples of her work and was hired. Roseline enjoys working with her fellow seamstresses and batikers and notes that “our teamwork is excellent.” She and her husband are saving money to build a house to live in with their three children. Roseline has big dreams for her children, saying “I want my kids to go very far in their education. My daughter wants to be a doctor. She's the best student in her class.”

 

To the women around the world wearing her products, Roseline says, “We are trying hard to do good; we hope you appreciate our work!

 

 
Sabina Efua Atta Assimoku, a Global Mama since 2007

Sabina Assimoku is a good listener with a gentle and confident manner, traits that make her both a good mother and a successful business owner. Though she started sewing more than five years before joining Global Mamas, Sabina was able to increase her income, rent a workshop, and hire employees after becoming a Mama. Sabina is grateful that Global Mamas helps her business as well as her family, allowing her a paid maternity leave and providing her the salary she uses to pay school fees.  In the future, Sabina wants to expand even further, but for now she looks lovingly at her baby son as she reflects, "Global Mamas has changed my life a lot. Global Mamas has improved my financial situation a lot."

 
Sabina Hasford, a Global Mama since 2008

“The key to prosperity is letting everything go and being cordial with people. When you do this, you will help others more than you will ever know.”

 

Meet Sabina: A seamstress since 1975, Sabina learned to sew from her mother. After learning to sew, Sabina worked as the secretary for the Minister of Health in the Western Region of Ghana. During her time as a secretary, Sabina never stopped sewing. In 2008, Sabina joined Global Mamas with the help of a Peace Corps volunteer. She now designs custom clothing targeting tourists. Sabina draws inspiration from American films, carefully observing what popular actors are wearing in movies and replicating these outfits as best she can. Sabina’s proudest achievement since joining Global Mamas is that women around the world wear her clothing.

 

“It makes me very proud that women from all over visit me at my shop and say, ‘Wow! You are Sabina! You’re clothing makes me very, very happy.’”

 
Sarah "Adwoa" Aggrey, a Global Mama since 2006

Sarah Aggrey plans for the future with each decision she makes, and is grateful to see her pragmatism pay off. Sarah took up sewing almost 20 years ago because she believe it would provide her with a secure source of income, but when she found herself with sole responsibility for her daughter, she needed a new plan. After hearing about Global Mamas, Sarah decided it would be in her best interest to join. Since then, Global Mamas has enabled Sarah to expand her business, support herself, and help her daughter pay for school. “I am proud to be able to send my daughter to nursing school,” she says. 

 

 
Sarah Adjei, a Global Mama since 2005

“I will know I have achieved prosperity when I can build a house on my land. I know Global Mamas will help me to get the money I need.”

 

Meet Sarah: A seamstress, Sarah first heard about Global Mamas when helping her friend and fellow Mama batik new product designs. Since becoming a Mama herself, Sarah has earned enough money through her Global Mamas orders to put her three children through university and to expand her seamstress shop by purchasing extra machines and training apprentices. Any volunteers who stay with her are greeted with a big smile and an open heart. Teaching the volunteers how to wash laundry and make local foods are experiences she says she will never forget. When not working, Sarah listens to Gospel music and dreams of the house she will one day build on her land.  

 

To everyone around the world wearing her products, Sarah says, “I would tell my customers I am happy now because of Global Mamas. Now I can support myself because I have too become a somebody.”     

 
Suwaiba Alhassen, a Global Mama since 2007

From her Trashy Bags wages, Suwaiba Alhassen sends money each month to her mother, a plantain vendor. With a strict savings plan in place, she’s also working towards one day attending nursing school. She was pleased that her initial wage at Trashy Bags was more than her previous profession as a housekeeper, and partway through her first year at Trashy Bags, she was promoted from cutting and washing the bags to her current position. She is currently working towards another promotion to seamstress, with the help of fellow Mama Risi Kafu Yalaya teaching her to sew.

 
Theresa Mensah, a Global Mama since 2008

Theresa joined Global Mamas in 2009. After completing a one year apprenticeship, she was able to open her own dressmaking shop. Theresa is a wife and a mother of three girls who are all in school. With money she has earned since joining Global Mamas, she fixed her broken sewing machine and bought a television and DVD player for her family. She enjoys cooking and being with her family in her free time. She hopes in the future to be able to buy her own apartment and to be able to buy new clothes for herself.

 
Veronica Amanor, a Global Mama since 2012

“Prosperity means you've achieved something, like skills and the ability to support yourself.”

 

Meet Veronica: Seamstress Veronica went to a three-year sewing program at a vocational school and started working at Global Mamas soon after. She also apprenticed under an established seamstress and hopes to one day pass on the favor by owning her own shop and training apprentices. Veronica’s favorite Global Mamas product is the Emi dress. When she’s not at work, Veronica helps her sister Gertrude with her batiking business; Gertrude is using her profits to put herself through school. Veronica also enjoys singing in her church’s choir and cooking her favorite dish, okra stew.

 

To the women around the world wearing her products, Veronica says, “Keep on buying our products and tell your friends!”

 
Veronica Anim, a Global Mama since 2007

Veronica Anim knew from a young age that she wanted to become a seamstress—and has now been a seamstress for ten years. Her original customer base came to her shop and requested products; she is happy to say she can sew anything. Joining Global Mamas in 2007, she says, gave her the right amount of work. Now, Veronica works primarily for Global Mamas, but when she has time, continues to do work for her own customers. Working for Global Mamas has enabled Veronica to send her four children to school and keep them healthy. She has also expanded her shop to hire another employee and take on an apprentice. It is exciting, she says, “that people in other parts of the world are buying and wearing my clothing.” Thinking to the future, Veronica would like her business to grow to where she could hire more employees, as well as buy land, build a home, and raise her children there.

 
Vida Donkoh, a Global Mama since 2008

Vida Donkoh has always been a self-starter, choosing by herself to start a career as a seamstress before working on her own. When she struggled to pay her bills, Vida’s sister suggested that Global Mamas could help her gain financial independence like they have for so many other women. Since following this advice, Vida is now making enough money to save for her dreams and child's future education. Her favorite part about this partnership is working with good and trustworthy people, along with the satisfaction of the finished product. “Global Mamas has helped me a lot and made me happy.” She says, “The income earned is good and steady, and I like the way Global Mamas staff talks with me.”

CC