Meet the Mamas by Technique

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.

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Alice Frimpong

“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!”

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Alice Korsah

“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.”

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Anastasia Larvie

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.

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Anthony Horlu

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.

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Bessie Cramer

“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.”

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Charity Charway

“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.”

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Charity Okine

“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!”

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Charlotte Bart-Plange

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.”

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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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Cynthia Essiaw

“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.”

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Cynthia Gabianu

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.

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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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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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Diana Ayiku

“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!”

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Dora Eyumu

“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.”

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Edem Homado

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.

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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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Elizabeth Abena Andorful

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.

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Elizabeth Nartey

“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!”

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Ellen Amartey

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.

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Elsie Amonoo

“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.”

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Esther Gyepi-Garbrah

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.”

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Felicia Asente

“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.

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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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Florence Thompson

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.

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Florence Worwornyo

“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.”

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Georgina Doku

“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.”

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Gifty Acquah

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.

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Gifty Dzagli

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.

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Gladys Annan

“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.”

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