Global Mamas was founded in 2003 by six Ghanaian women who were passionate about using their talents as batikers and seamstresses to earn a steady income to support their families. They were supported by two women from North America who were passionate about seeing Ghanaian women grow their businesses.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.”
Renae Adam and Kristin Johnson, Co-Founders
Renae Adam and Kristin Johnson initially began working for the founding Mamas while serving as Peace Corps Volunteers in Ghana in the early 1990’s. In 2003 Renae returned to Ghana to start Women in Progress – an NGO focused on capacity building for women entrepreneurs. From the start the entrepreneurs being served by Women in Progress shifted the main focus of the NGO to market development for their products. Renae and the founding Mamas developed a product line, created a brand name that served as an umbrella brand for all of their businesses (yes, that brand name was Global Mamas), and started shipping products to Kristin in the United States to sell on their behalf. Over several decades Renae and Kristin have worked side by side with the founding Mamas to grow the organization, which now provides sustainable livelihoods to over 300 women in Ghana.