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.”
Meet The Mamas
“Prosperity allows me to keep working so I can pay for my children’s schooling.”
Meet Christiana: Before she joined Global Mamas as a bead assembler, Christiana sold drinking water on the street, but she wasn’t earning enough to cover the school fees for her two children. Christiana has big dreams for them: “I hope one day they will become a pastor and a nurse,” she says. Of all the beaded products she creates, Christiana’s favorite to make are the bracelets. On the weekend Christiana does laundry, rests, and cooks. Her favorite Ghanaian dish is fufu and she enjoys making it for her children and her three siblings.
To all those who purchase her products, Christiana says with an infectious smile, “Keep on buying so we can keep making money!”
“To me, prosperity is something everyone can achieve; it is being successful and reaching your goals.”
Meet Christiane: Per a friend’s suggestion, Christiane applied for a position at Global Mamas after completing high school. She began as a quality control champion, and has since been promoted to quality control manager. Her job is to make sure the office is tidy and everyone else is doing their job correctly and efficiently – she is responsible for seven employees! Working for Global Mamas has taught her many skills: not only does she know how to check clothes for quality, but she also has learned how to socialize and has made many friends through the Global Mamas family. As a hobby, Christiane loves to make her own batik desigs. She hopes to one day become a food caterer (she especially loves banku and okro stew). She also hopes to see her young daughter grow up, complete tertiary school, have a better life, and become a Mama like herself!
“To all the women around the world who support Global Mamas, I would like to say a biiiiiig thank you for buying and wearing our products and making us proud!”
“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.”
Christopher grew up in the town of Sasieme in Ghana’s Volta Region. When asked about his tribe, the Ewe, he explains, “Ewe people are hardworking. If things are not so good, you have to work hard to get something to eat. There is no business really, so you must learn to farm or fish.” Christopher was fortunate to study chemical engineering and later started working as a production manager for Naasalke, a Global Mamas shea butter business partner. He enjoys being involved in processing and supervising the transformation of raw materials into a final product. He especially likes the quality control aspect of the process. Christopher is married to his wife, Gifty, who works in IT.
To produce our Global Beauty Butter we partner with the Christian Mother’s Association (CMA) in Vittin located in the Northern Region of Ghana. Through its partnership with Global Mamas, the women of the CMA have not only had their wages doubled, but a portion of the sales of Global Beauty Butter will go towards the Shea Helps Empower (SHE) Fund. The SHE Fund supports specific, group-driven projects to improve the CMA Shea Butter Cooperative’s production facilities and local community.
Georgina Adaliba, the Coordinator of the CMA Vittin, has been actively involved with the shea processing center since its inception in 1991. She works hard to make sure that the 25 craftswomen have raw materials for work and monitors day to day production so that they are producing consistently high quality shea butter.
As the owner and CEO of our shea butter partner Ele Agbe, Comfort has always lived by the advice a friend once gave her: "nothing is small". She was eight when she lost her father, and since then she has worked hard to fund her own education. She worked as a street vendor to pay her fees for high school and in the early 1980's traveled to Nigeria in hopes of better earnings. In Nigeria, she began selling bread and once the demand grew, she partnered with a friend to purchase an oven and hire employees. Upon returning to Ghana, Comfort has applied her effective business skills to launch Ele Agbe. She is proud to offer her employees proper training and health care. It is extremely important to Comfort that the people she works with receive a consistent, fair wage while enjoying a respectful and familiar work environment.
“Prosperity is about my family—it means I can take care of them”
Meet Comfort: Comfort has been working with Global Mamas as a beadmaker since the Krobo site first began and is glad that she earns enough money for her beads to support her family. She has a son, Fausta, and a daughter, Mavis, and also cares for two nephews, Isaac and Juros, who are like sons to her. Comfort describes the beadmaking process and wants people to know how difficult it is: “We pound glass and heat it over a fire to create the beads, and we also search for grass and cassava stalks to make holes in the beads.” She says she’s proud that even as a woman, she has the physical strength to do this work.
To those who buy the products made from her beads, Comfort says, “May God help you to get more money so you can buy more jewelry and ornaments made from my beads!”
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.
“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 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.
“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!”
“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.”
Deborah grew up in Ghana's Volta Region, the seventh sibling among three sisters and three brothers. Hardworking and determined, she studied business but was unable to continue due to financial issues. Later, a friend introduced her to Eugenia, owner of Naasalke, a Global Mamas shea butter business partner, and after spending some time in training, she began working full time with Naasalke. Eventually, she saved enough money to go back to school in 2009. She is studying administration and has hopes to one day become a manager at the Ghanaian insurance company, SIC. She greatly appreciates the way Eugenia encourages her and her fellow employees to produce high quality work!
“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. 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!”
“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.”
“I believe prosperity means that things are going well in your life.”
Meet Doris: Formerly a nanny, Doris applied to work at Global Mamas after a friend, also a bead assembler, told her about the organization. She’s proud that she’s learned how to design beaded products and says that she and her coworkers make high quality products. Her favorites are the necklaces. On the weekends, she likes to relax and cook for her family—the Ghanaian dish banku stew is her favorite.
“My dreams for the future are studying to become a nurse and seeing peace come to my community.”
“Prosperity is being able to get what you want. I will have reached prosperity when I can be self-employed.”
Meet Doris: After finishing senior high school, Doris decided to work for Global Mamas upon discovering the office was right behind her house! Doris works as a bead assembler and loves to make earrings, especially the Sister Earrings. Since coming to Global Mamas, she has been able to save her money, enabling her to purchase the things she wants and pay her electricity bills. Doris lives in her family home with her six siblings and parents. In her free time, she and her family do their laundry and sell rice. Doris hopes to go back to school to study education so she can teach beadmaking.
When asked what she’d like to share with those who buy her products, Doris says, “Our products are good quality, so please order more of them!”
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.
“Prosperity means that I've been able to expand my business over the years and hire apprentices.”
Meet Edna: A longtime Global Mama, beadmaker Edna thinks a lot about the big picture. She’s pleased that she’s able to access such a big customer market for her beads through the Global Mamas website and that she is paid on time for her work. She’s also truly dedicated to the heritage of beadmaking, having learned from her mother when she was only five years old. These years of family tradition give Edna the ability to create beautifully painted beads, skills which she’s passing on to family members and apprentices.
When asked about her dreams for her three children, Edna says, “I hope that Kennedy, Ellen, and Benedicta will be well-educated and at the same time learn how to make beads.”