Since joining Global Mamas, Effie has seen her sewing business grow, supplying her with a better income than her previous work as a farmer. Effie knows that her work is important to her family’s future, using her income to pay for her three children’s school fees. Since her work with Global Mamas began, Effie has experienced increased productivity by purchasing a sewing machine and she enjoys her additional work as a weaver.
Meet The Mamas
“To me, prosperity is doing something that you put all your strength and mind and materials into and then get to witness the finished product.”
Meet Elizabeth: After working at a pharmacy for very little pay, Elizabeth learned about Global Mamas from a friend and decided to apply as a temporary worker. She then applied for full time work and was accepted into the program as a quality control seamstress champion. Now that she has the income of a direct employee, Elizabeth has been able to rent a room in a house for herself, allowing for more independence in her life. Moreover, she was empowered in November 2015 to make decisions about sewn items for export. Calm, composed, and always ready to focus on the task at hand, Elizabeth loves working with the Mamas and helping them make their products better. She hopes to further her education by completing tertiary school, and then continue moving up through Global Mamas. What she loves most about her job is that she can see someone wearing the finished product that she had a part in producing.
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 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.
“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.”
“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!”
“Prosperity, to me, is when my business is growing.”
Meet Elizabeth: After being recruited by Global Mamas in the bead market, bead seller Elizabeth has seen her business expand. She is thankful for the reliable and regular orders that Global Mamas provides her. With her business expanding, Elizabeth now runs three large display tables in the local market and has seen her income increase significantly. She is proud that she is able to pay for the education of her four children and hopes that they do well and have a bright future. In her free time, Elizabeth loves to design beads and cook plantain stew.
When asked what she would like to tell the women wearing her beads, Elizabeth says, “May God be with them, and may they have a long life and prosperity!”
“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!”
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.
“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.”
“Prosperity, to me, is to be able to save enough money to go back to school and become a nurse.”
Meet Emelia: Prior to joining Global Mamas as a quality control employee, Emelia worked at a call center. She feels the most valuable skill she has learned at Global Mamas is how to design beads and grind glass, which is part of the beadmaking process. She’s pleased that she has been able to support her mother and sister while saving money for herself. When she is not working, she enjoys watching foreign films, listening to gospel music, and cooking her favorite dish—rice and stew. In addition to her personal dream of becoming a nurse, Emelia wishes to see her community become clean and well-developed.
To all the people who buy Global Mamas products, Emelia says, “Thank you for buying Global Mamas products, and you should keep buying!”
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.”
“Prosperity is seeing the shelves of my provisions store full, where before they were empty.”
Meet Emmanuel, a Global Papa since 2014: In addition to his beadmaking business, Emmanuel runs a provisions store. The biggest change in his life since becoming a beadmaker for Global Mamas is that he can invest more money in his store. With five children to support, Emmanuel appreciates that Global Mamas is a steady customer who pays on time. He’s hopeful for his children’s futures, saying that he wants to see them get an education, but understands that not everyone does well in school and that he’d be just as pleased for them to pursue a trade. When describing life with his wife and children, Emmanuel notes that his children help out at his business on Saturday and then attend church together on Sundays.
When asked about his dreams for the future, Emmanuel describes one that he’s partway to achieving: “Since joining Global Mamas, I’ve begun building a house on some property that we own.”
As a young, single woman, Esi Joyce had an extremely difficult time finding work and supporting herself before joining Global Mamas. Since joining the Global Mamas co-op, Esi is not only earning a daily living, but she is also saving money and investing in herself and her family. Her income from Global Mamas pays for her five siblings’ school fees, and she has been able to buy a mobile phone and purchase a sewing machine for increased production. Esi has created a sustainable business that supports her and her dreams.
“To me, prosperity is being able to give to your children or other’s children, or take care of your health, pay your own medical bills .“
Meet Esther: She has worked at Global Mama since 2012, Esther as a quality control batik and seamstress champion as well as a tour guide for volunteers. She was encouraged by a Mama to apply to this organization and it has since helped her in many ways. Esther explains that “I am asthmatic and the drug for asthma is very expensive. Before I could not afford to pay it myself, but after working with Global Mamas, I am able to buy the drug without the help of anyone.” Her most fundamental goal is to provide for her family. By working at Global Mamas, she achieves a steady income to take care of her sister’s three children. As an ambitious young woman, her dream is to own and manage her own business. She hopes that her work with Global Mamas will provide her with enough savings to open a cosmetic shop and develop as an entrepreneur.
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.”
Eugenia Akuete founded Naasakle, a shea butter production company, in 2002. In testament to the power of her high quality products, dedicated customers, and growing consumer awareness of the benefits of shea butter, Naasakle's production grew from 50 to 3,000 pounds in three years. Despite the growing success of Naasakle, Eugenia misses her children who remain in the United States, and at times she misses how smoothly things seem to run there. "You can do business without so many surprises!" she chuckles. But what matters more to her is helping those truly in need and building the strong relationships that ultimately make a difference in people's lives.
“Prosperity is having a good job and being able to pay for my children’s school fees.”
Meet Eunice: When Eunice’s pastor passed by the Global Mamas Krobo location and met some employees, he told Eunice about the opportunity to work as a bead assembler. Prior to working at Global Mamas, Eunice was out of work. She is happy that she has now gained skills in assembling beads, especially in making necklaces. Eunice lives with her husband, a science teacher, and her two young daughters, Juliet and Princess. Since joining Global Mamas, she has been able to send her daughters to private school so they can enjoy higher quality education and hopes they will become a nurse and a teacher. In the future, Eunice would like teach Krobo, the language spoken in the Krobo area.
When asked about her proudest achievement since joining Global Mamas, Eunice says, “I am proud of myself because I am happy every day.”
Though technically her niece, everyone knows Eunice as the other daughter of Naasakle owner Eugenia! Eunice is young, ambitious, and enjoys working in the shea butter industry. She has been working with Naasakle since 2008 as administrative assistant, and she especially loves hearing people say how much shea products have helped them. Customers also often come up with different product ideas, and Eunice enjoys experimenting to meet their needs, creating products like citronella and shea butter as a moisturizing insect repellent! Though she enjoys creating products for the international market, she also wants to create products that appeal to the local market. She is putting her creative forces to work to create products that appeal to Ghanaian customers.
“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.”