Meet the Mamas by Location

Batiking & Sewing Center (Cape Coast)

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Cape Coast is home to our largest production location and was the first Global Mamas location. It was here that our founding Mamas came together in 2003 to produce the first Global Mamas product line. Today the Cape Coast Global Mamas community comprises nearly 100 independent, women-owned businesses. In Cape Coast our Mamas are batikers and seamstresses who work from their own shops or from their homes.

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Deborah  Ababio

“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!”

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Sabina Hasford

“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.’”

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Isabella Amoah Kwa

“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.”

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Deborah Asmah

“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.”

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Patricia Tandoh

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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Joyce Aboagye

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.

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Cecilia Dontwi Dick

“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."

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Mary Koomson

“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.”

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Philomena Stephens

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.”

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Veronica Anim

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.

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Georgina "Gina" Abra Afenyo

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.”

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Elizabeth "Esi" Arkaah

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.”

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Florence "Kakra" Thannie

“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.”

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Sarah "Adwoa" Aggrey

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.

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Comfort Pufaba Yakubu

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.

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Sarah Adjei

“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.”

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Molly Linda Djan

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.”

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Grace "Araba" Koufie

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.

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Aggie Cole Arthur

“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.”

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Grace Adoboe

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.”

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