Prosperity Blog

News and stories from Global Mamas

Educating on Healthy Pregnancies

By Rebecca Fogel

 

 

Global Mamas’ Krobo office with members of the Marie Stopes team. 

 

Earlier this spring Global Mamas staff and producers in Krobo, Akuse, and Cape Coast participated in workshops educating on pregnancy and delivery, facilitated by Dr. Akpene Nyamadi, Clinical Quality Advisor at Marie Stopes International in Ghana. Marie Stopes is a global organization that has been educating and providing family planning services to Ghanaian women and girls since 2007. 

 

Dr. Nyamadi discussed the stages of pregnancy, what to expect during pregnancy, antenatal care, and the labor, delivery, and post-delivery process. Emphasis was placed on good prenatal care to improve pregnancy outcomes, including taking extra folic acid, avoiding drugs and alcohol, exercise, blood tests and physical exams, and a healthy diet. Dr. Nyamadi went over the early signs of pregnancy in addition to educating the Mamas on what changes it’s normal to expect during a health pregnancy in the the first through third trimesters.

 

 

In recent years Mamas have requested more opportunities to learn about better health for themselves and their families.

 

Dr. Nyamadi shared about the Focused Antenatal Care (FANC) model, which includes at least four antenatal clinic visits during pregnancy for screenings, immunizations, and monitoring. He also shared the many benefits of engaging in exercise during pregnancy. Exercise reduces the risk of complications, eases discomfort, promotes healthy and steady weight gain, boosts mood and energy, and reduces stress. 

 

The Mamas greatly enjoyed and appreciated this workshop, commenting on the importance of antenatal care, safe sex, and maintaining a healthy diet while pregnant to ensure a healthy mother and baby. Thanks to the team at Marie Stopes for taking the time to share their expertise with so many of the Mamas!

 

Educating Communities on Rights to Natural Resources

Akuse, a town near the Volta River in Ghana’s Eastern Region, is home to Global Mamas’ newest eco initiative. In collaboration with local communities our team is using invasive water hyacinth as the raw material for an all-new collection of natural fiber products. 

Known locally as the “poison flower,” the hyacinth earned its nickname from area fisherman who over time have identified that wherever the plant grows, fish and other aquatic life fail. This effect is caused in part by the weeds’ aggressive growth, forming thick mats across the surface of the water and blocking sunlight. Water hyacinth also has thick stems which efficiently suck oxygen and other necessary nutrients out of the water, harming native species. 

 

Women from the cooperatives harvesting invasive hyacinth. Photo credit: Eric Senanu 

Presented with this ecological challenge, Global Mamas saw an opportunity to restore biodiversity, but also create economic opportunity for individuals living in affected communities. Through this initiative over the past six months we’ve been able to create jobs not only for weavers and paper makers transforming the fibers into home goods, but also for those actually harvesting the weed from the river.

 

Cooperative member processing the hyacinth to be dried in the sun for one week. Photo Credit: Mallory Savisaar 

Global Mamas is now working with cooperatives in five different communities that are harvesting and processing the raw water hyacinth into fibers for our production team. Each week co-op members deliver their hyacinth to our Akuse office. They are paid upon delivery for both the wet stalks required for paper, and the dry stalks required for weaving. In addition to the agreed upon price, Global Mamas pays a 5% premium into an overarching community fund, which is managed by a Community Resource Management Area (CREMA). 

  

Weavers turn the dried hyacinth into beautiful woven products. Photo credit: Mallory Savisaar. 

The CREMA approach was initially developed by the Wildlife Division of the Ghanaian Forestry Commission, to address wildlife management outside protected areas and forest reserves. Due to the models great success with community based resource management, the program is now being used to manage a variety of natural resources. With our partners at Nature Conservation Research Center (NCRC)  we’ve been participating in meetings, training and workshops aimed at educating community members on the rights they have to advocate for their own natural resources.

  

Leaders form the CREMA communities together after a training session. Photo credit: Mallory Savisaar

The 5% premium Global Mamas pays to the CREMA is used at their discretion for projects that will benefit the entire community, such as sanitation projects like toilet construction. This puts the community in a better position to have a say over their own local natural resources.The real power of the Fibers of Change project is not just its ability to create jobs, but to open up a community wide discussion about environmentalism, natural resource protection, and a community based approach to resource management.

 

Meet the Mamas: Martha's Story

 Interview by batik designer Nick Ruffalo. Cape Coast Ghana, April 2020. 

Martha Rhule: Auntie, Inspiration & Mentor.  A Global Mamas Batiker Since 2010.

 “My name is Martha. I have been working as a batiker for Global Mamas for 9 years. When I first got into home-sciences, I was a seamstress. A lady came in wanting me to sew something for her; I thought her fabric was amazing. She told me she was a batiker, and she made it herself. I asked her if she could teach me. After a while I began batiking for my own work.

After several years, a friend of mine who used to order fabric from me introduced me to Global Mamas. She sent someone from Global Mamas to come visit my shop, and they asked me if I wanted more work. I thought it was maybe a personal order, but then she asked me to come back to her office. I was confused, but I went. When I got there, they took me into an interview, and within a week they called me back to hire me. Now I have 3 employees, and we are always working on an order."

 "My mother was a trader, she sold everything. My mother supported us when we were kids, but we also supported ourselves. After school my sister and I would work sorting and smoking fish. When the boats would bring the fish, we would help carry them and take some fish as payment. When I was fifteen my mother passed away. My sister and I kept working, but since I was older I was looking after her. At that time there was a fish called Ewura Fua, it helped us a whole lot. The fish brought in a lot of money. (It is now extinct.) 

My father was a salt-maker, he owned salt flats. My father didn’t take care of us, he had another family. So, I put myself through vocational school. There was a time when I had to drop out due to money. The school accidentally called my father, thinking he supported me, and begged him to allow me to continue because I was good. Then he came in to help, but he said if I did home-science he wouldn’t sponsor me. I went into it anyway." 

 

"Now I have been helping my brother-in-law support my late sister’s 5 children. The twins, Penyin and Kakra, are both in their national service. Lord has completed school and is now working as a contractor. Donald is not working at the moment but wants to become a pastor, and Kofi has completed two years of school but wants to work and save some money before returning. My nieces and nephews would describe me as their mother. They are concerned for me. They care about me and my health. If I am sick, they look after me. I am very proud that I have been able to take care of them. For their future, I hope they all have their own work and are able to live comfortably. 

I am proud of myself for joining Global Mamas; it has helped me a lot. I am able to live comfortably. I have become a successful Batiker, and I am proud that I’ve been able to train many others.”

Learn More About Invasive Water Hyacinth

Community partners working with Global Mamas to harvest water hyacinth.

 

Water hyacinth, a profuse natural resource that we are using as the base material for our new Fibers of Change collection, is known around the world for it’s aggressive growth. Certain species of hyacinth are known to double their size in just two weeks - meaning an initial ten plants may multiply into over 600 specimens in a three month span. This rapid growth clogs waterways while a well-developed root system readily absorbs oxygen and available nutrients, depleting resources needed for native plants, fish, and other organisms to thrive. This combination of factors makes the water hyacinth a threat to biodiversity, water quality, water transportation, and human health wherever it’s found. 

   

 Water hyacinth located on an abandoned fish farm on the Volta River.

 

Originally from the Amazon Basin, water hyacinth may now be found in waterways around the world. Spread has occurred in part due to its deceptively pretty blossoms that are found desirable as ornamental pond plants.  Once established in a wetland or water body such as Ghana’s Volta River, the weed can spread through wind propulsion of floating plants (or plant fragments), through water currents, and on the feathers and feet of local species and migratory waterbirds. (source) The construction of the Akosombo Dam, located just north of the area where we are sourcing the weeds, has created favorable conditions for water hyacinth colonies to flourish. Every time the Dam opens more weeds float downriver to our partner communities, meaning mechanical or chemical means to eliminate the plant are not a viable long-term solution. Under the Fibers of Change* Project Global Mamas is working with communities in the Lower Volta River to find truly sustainable ways to protect the biodiversity of the river while providing fairly paid livelihoods for community members affected by the water hyacinth infestation.

 

 

*This project is funded by USAID through the West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change program (WA BiCC)

   

 Global Mamas staff training community members on the benefits of harvesting water hyacinth.

 

Harvesting the water hyacinth by pulling it from the water whole has been recommended as the most sustainable way to mitigate its spread. Removing the plant by hand prevents secondary pollution caused by using chemicals or pesticides, and it also creates sustainable livelihoods for community members as they harvest and sell the hyacinth to our handcrafting team in Akuse.

 

It turns out the water hyacinth plant is rich in fiber which makes it useful for both papermaking and weaving. To create woven goods such as ropes, baskets, and bags Global Mamas weavers take fibers harvested from the river and dry them in the sun. Global Mamas papermakers use the plant fibers while they are still fresh, grinding and crushing them into a pulp. In combination with other materials such as the batik textiles and recycled glass beads already being crafted by Global Mamas artisans, our team in Akuse has been developing eco-friendly water hyacinth products since Fall 2019.  Various colorways of the innovative products shown below are available online now.

 

 

 We hope you love this unique and eco-friendly line as much as we do! 

COVID-19 Update from Global Mamas

TO OUR GLOBAL MAMAS COMMUNITY:

First off, we want to check-in. How are you doing? We hope you are hanging in there. This is an unprecedented time for us all and we are all doing our best to navigate the changes each day. Please know we’re sending our love, and are here by phone/email/messenger if you need a friendly voice. We’re grateful for your continued support as we face this new challenge together.

UPDATE FROM OUR TEAM IN GHANA

At this time our top priority is mitigating the impact of the virus on our community’s health-- both physically and financially. 

• As of March 17th, Ghana has 7 confirmed cases of COVID-19, all from recently arrived travelers. We will continue educating and preparing for how potential spread will impact the health and well-being of our community.

• Every office location and Mama has been educated on COVID-19, including how to keep themselves safe and how to prevent spread. Office locations have been provided with extra cleaning supplies to support heightened hygiene measures.

• Should we begin to see community spread in Ghana, offices will be closed and employees will be encouraged to stay home and practice social distancing.

• Our US office is taking extra precautions to ensure that our work space only has one employee present at a time. All touch points are cleaned thoroughly between shifts. 

• Each Global Mamas location has reviewed their expenses and committed to eliminating all non-essential costs.

• All travel plans have been cancelled organization-wide. 

• As production declines we will be fundraising in order to pay a stipend to Mamas who own their own businesses to help them cover basic needs. We will make interest free loans available as we are able. 

MITIGATING FINANCIAL IMPACT

As transparency is an integral aspect of our business we want to be open about how COVID-19 is affecting our financial well-being, and the part our current Facebook fundraiser will play in providing a stopgap to the Mamas during this difficult time. Contributing factors to our current situation include but are not limited to:

 A Ghana government travel ban on short term travelers. With decreased foot traffic, sales at our two brick and mortar stores in Ghana are already suffering.

• Cancellation of our volunteer and internship program for the foreseeable future. This is a huge loss for the capacity building programs we offer the Mamas-- both in terms of the financial and intellectual support volunteers and interns provide. 

• Trade show cancellations and temporary store closures in Europe have resulted in a significant drop in EU sales. 

• Retail partners in the US are facing state-mandated closures. This means we’re braced for reduced orders from North American customers in coming months. 

• During the 2014-2016 Ebola Epidemic we borrowed money to finance operations to prevent losses to the Mamas. As we are still repaying this debt we are unable to borrow additional funds without putting the future of Global Mamas at risk.

Our 76 person employee team (producers, quality control staff, production managers, Ghana store staff, US wholesale office staff, etc.) have committed in solidarity to a pay cut to help share the burden of the financial losses. We will have tiered pay cuts (a higher percent cut for higher pay), and will graduate the pay cuts as needed starting out with a small reduction and increasing over time if orders don't resume. Many of the Mamas are independent business owners and rely on global demand for their products, which is dramatically lower for the time being. To ensure that the Mamas are able to continue covering the needs of their families, we aim to pay monthly stipends for as long as we are able. When we factor in these stipends, and continuing to pay our staff at a reduced rate for several months, we are looking at ending the year with a loss of $60,885-- even after factoring in some recovery of sales throughout the year. 

If you have the financial capacity to donate to our Facebook fundraiser we'd be grateful- though we're conscious that with widespread layoffs and current upheaval, this might not be possible. Other ways you can show your support are by shopping at a retailer near you carrying our product, or by following our updates on social media (@global_mamas) and sharing the love with likes and encouraging comments. Thank you for facing this challenge alongside us! We're willing good health for you and yours and encourage everyone to take all due precautions to look after themselves.  

Women's Day 2020: Building a Gender Equal World

With the unwavering support of our community, Global Mamas keeps pressing for gender equality for women in Ghana.  We believe greater balance of power depends on greater economic independence for women-- you can read more about this issue here.

Beyond the direct opportunities we've provided for hundreds of women over the past 17 years, it is humbling to see how many of the Mamas have chosen to reinvest resources in women and girls from their families and communities. 

  

Global Mamas batiker Martha Rhule's employees with their children. 

 EDUCATING FUTURE GENERATIONS

 Although progress has been made, girls still on average have lower educational levels than boys in West and Central Africa. Girls marrying or dropping out of school early are more likely to experience poor health, have children at younger ages, and earn less in adulthood.  With the financial means to do so, 100% of the Mamas children are enrolled in school- both boys and girls.

   

Global Mamas seamstress Deborah Asmah's apprentices. 

PROVIDING EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES

 The Mamas earn on their own terms- whatever works best for themselves, their families, and employees. Depending on the goals they have for their business Mamas often train apprentices and hire additional workers for their shops. Often in Ghana those trained in batik or making womenswear, are women.  

  

Krobo General Manager Gladys points out details needing special attention from Global Mamas weavers.

BECOMING ROLE MODELS

 Advanced training in technical skills and money management together with health and wellness workshops enhances the Mamas self-esteem and their ability to participate in decisions affecting their homes and communities. In advocating for themselves they become strong role models for others.

  

Global Mamas seamstress Vida with family, together with the land she purchased, and house she built.

BECOMING LANDOWNERS

Even with inclusive laws in place to protect womens rights to own land in Ghana, barriers remain. Often a woman's only claim to the land she relies on for food, income, and shelter is through her relationship to a male relative. As Mamas become landowners they have increased social, economic, and political power.

 

Thank you for joining us to make EVERY day Women's Day as we continuing pressing for gender equality in Ghana. 

Presenting New Fabric Techniques in 2020

 

Global Mamas designer Abigail Okang uses the new watercolor technique for a SS2020 sample.

We were thrilled to transition to certified organic and fair trade cotton in 2019, but it wasn’t easy. The biggest challenge we continue to face is that the cotton absorbs the wax used in batik more deeply, making it harder to remove. Global Mamas staff spent weeks problem solving and eventually developed a new de-waxing process that works, but it is more time consuming. So our talented design team has taken this opportunity to explore new techniques for our Spring 2020 collection that use less wax. We are very proud to present their designs!

 

Upcycled plastic bags are used to bind cotton in a resist technique to create the new Tides fabric.

Exploring New Techniques for 2020
Our overarching goal in this sampling process was to reduce the amount of wax being applied to the fabric, while using techniques still applicable to batik artists:

  • Watercolor- Fabric is soaked in water, laid flat, and dye is directly applied on top of the cotton so that it disperses and creates a watercolor appearance.
  • Painting- Dry fabric is laid flat and dye is directly applied with a paint brush.
  • Marbling (what we call Iceberg)- Slightly damp fabric is laid flat, then scrunched Dye is applied directly, then cotton covered for an hour while the dye slowly disperses.
  • Tie & Dye- A resist dyeing technique in which fabric is folded or twisted then bound.
  • Spattered Wax Application- Instead of applying wax with a foam stamp (heavier application), a wooden broom is dipped into the wax and slapped down on the fabric.

 

Our Design Team has developed various tools to help batikers consistently replicate our unique textiles. The batik stencil (left) includes stamping directions and an overview of the finished fabric layout.

Creating Consistently With Our Unique Model
Global Mamas Cape Coast office alone partners with around 60 small women-run businesses in the surrounding community. From a profitability standpoint this isn’t the most efficient model, but our mission is to support and sustain these small businesses and the financial independence of the women at their helm.

To achieve consistent results from one Mama’s workshop to the next, Global Mamas’ Design and Quality Control teams put a great deal of work into providing tools and techniques to support batikers and seamstresses in achieving our top quality standards. For our signature batiks, stencils are created so that foam stamps may be precisely replicated (see above), dye recipes are created and distributed, and instructions are provided on how to stamp using terms like “full drop” and “half drop” to communicate the overall repetition of the design.

While we love the subtle variability inherent to handcrafted goods, if a batik is so far outside the acceptable range set by our Quality Control team that it no longer looks like the same fabric in our catalog-- it’s an issue! As many of these new techniques rely more heavily on the artistic eye of the batiker, they may work for brands working with just one or two in-house producers, but they are much harder to train on across a broader group working in many locations. Keeping this in mind, Global Mamas designers Abi and Nick worked closely with batikers located near our Cape Coast office to test the feasibility of these new methods: carefully considering which options were truly viable with our unique production model that would ensure successful outcomes for the Mamas.

 

We all loved this hand painted sample, being developed here by Global Mamas designer Nick and batiker Aggie Arthur. Unfortunately this fabric didn’t make the cut as it could not be consistently replicated.

New Looks Coming for Spring/Summer 2020
We’re pleased to report a range of these new fabric techniques DID make the cut for our 2020 collection, which is coming soon to stores across the globe. We look forward to sharing this new line of distinctive textiles to help you continue living life in full color!

Introducing Fibers of Change

The Volta River with a thick covering of water hyacinth in the foreground.

Introducing Fibers of Change
This fall the Global Mamas team, in collaboration with USAID and the West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC), is embarking on an exciting new endeavor combining two goals that are an inherent part of our mission: creating sustainable livelihoods in communities with limited economic opportunity while at the same time acting as environmentally conscientious ambassadors of the biodiversity and rich natural resources in Ghana.

Fibers of Change, our new initiative that’s taken root along the banks of the Volta River, will use water hyacinth (locally known as the “poison flower”) as the staple raw material to develop an all-new collection of natural fiber products for Global Mamas customers around the world. 

 

Consultants & community partners harvest hyacinth from the Volta near our new Akuse office.

The Challenge:
Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is regarded as one of the worst aquatic invasive plants in the world, with the ability to double its size in less than two weeks. Deceptively beautiful, this aggressive weed clogs waterways and negatively affects water transport, power generation, health, agriculture, and fisheries. In Ghana, both chemical and biological interventions have been implemented in an attempt to control the plant, neither of which have proven successful or sustainable on a large scale. While the negative impacts of the plant are many, there are no known ecological dangers associated with the removal of the species.

The Additional Challenge:
One of the main river systems in West Africa, the Volta River Basin, encompasses underdeveloped economies that are some of the poorest in the world. Nearly 42% of the Volta River Basin is located in Ghana, with the densest populations along the Lower Volta River in Ghana’s Eastern Province where 77.7% of the economically active population are self-employed in agriculture and animal rearing as their primary economic activities.

Although loss of biodiversity in this area has many factors, the root cause can be identified as human activities. Community members have no choice but to deplete natural resources in order to meet the financial needs of their families. This financial dependence, partnered with a steadily increasing population, has put detrimental pressure on natural resources.

 

Freshly harvested hyacinth stalks dry in the sun in preparation for weaving and twining.

Our Solution:
With initial support from USAID, Global Mamas has set out to do what we do best: finding ways to turn this abundant natural resource into sustainable livelihoods. Since no one in Ghana was already making products from water hyacinth, we’ve hosted consultants from around Africa to learn how they’ve been using the water hyacinth to create marketable products in their own communities.

With an ambitious goal of launching our first round of water hyacinth products at the NYNow trade show in February 2020, the water hyacinth team is currently working through the labor-intensive process of setting up best practices for both harvesting and processing the plant. As papermakers and weavers become more confident in their skills we look forward to developing an expanded range of future products supporting environmental and economic initiatives that benefit communities in the Eastern region of Ghana.

Thanks for following along on this new adventure and keep an eye out for updates on how to support this project going into the new year! 

Global Mamas designer Elizabeth working on a new runner combining hyacinth and batik.

 

Winning Designs by the Mamas

Our annual Design Competition began in 2007 as a way to generate new product ideas. With so many talented makers involved in our organization we wanted to provide the opportunity to participate for any Mama or staff member interested in sharing their creative input. Each year winning designs are included in our catalog and the winner receives both recognition during our annual “Mama of the Year" awards in addition to a monetary prize.

Following the success of our 2007 competition, this event has become a tradition! In this year's Design Competition blog we wanted to focus on three winning Mamas from previous years that have their designs in our current collection. 

 

Martha Rhule: Designer of the Unity Batik

Martha Rhule became a Global Mamas batikers in 2010 after a friend introduced her to our organization so that she could have greater financial stability. Although both a talented batiker AND seamstress, Martha decided to focus on developing her expertise as a batiker. Today Martha is an accomplished textile artist that has trained multiple apprentices while producing consistently high quality work. She has also created multiple bestselling batik designs.

Martha won the Batikers Award in our 2010 Design Competition for her Pebble pattern, then the 2017 Design Competition for her Unity pattern (pictured here). Martha says the Unity design was inspired by some brickwork she noticed while sitting one day at her sewing machine. The actual layout of the batik shifted as she played with sampling the new design. At first the pattern was more spread out, but as she stamped the logos closer and closer together she preferred the outcome. In our 2019 catalog Martha's Unity pattern is prominently displayed in a diverse range of product, from women's dresses to pillow covers.

[SHOP MARTHA'S UNITY BATIK.]

 

Hannah Dodoo, Designer of the Button Basket

One of Global Mamas’ eight co-founding women, Hannah is an accomplished seamstress that draws inspiration from experiences abroad, including travel to the US and Germany where she learned to sew in 1976. Hannah won the Seamstress Award in 2016 for her Frontier Bag and won the 2015 Design Competition for her popular Button Baskets in our current catalog. 

As a creative individual with a passion for design, Hannah constantly finds herself brainstorming new product ideas. With her 2015 contest submission Hannah recognized our catalog could use more home décor which is how she landed on her Button Basket design. Hannah’s inspiration for the Frontier Bag evolved from her experience traveling and needing a secure way to carry and store her personal belongings. 

[SHOP HANNAH'S BUTTON BASKET]

Felicia Dede: Designer of the Felicia Earrings

Felicia has worked as both a jewelry assembler and quality control ‘champion’ for the Global Mamas Odumase Krobo Office. This team works with local beadmakers to produce our range of recycled glass jewelry and ornaments. Before joining Global Mamas in 2013 Felicia was a teacher at primary school in Krobo but wasn’t happy in the role.  Having studied visual arts at technical school when she heard of an opportunity at Global Mamas from a neighbor she decided to pursue her creative interests.

Although batikers and seamstresses have participated in the annual Design Competition for some years, getting the jewelry assemblers and beadmakers involved at our Krobo location is a more recent endeavor that we hope to continue. Felicia’s submission for the 2018 competition were these winning earrings that the design team paired with a coordinating necklace to be able to offer customers a matched set. Felicia says her inspiration for the earrings comes from one of her visual arts courses at school. 

[SHOP FELICIA'S RECYCLED GLASS EARRINGS]

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2019 Design Competition submissions are due 6/28/19 and final decisions on who our award winners will be happen the following Friday. We can't wait to see all the creative ideas that will be shared this season!

 

 

Meet the Mamas: Featuring New Global Mamas Batiker Dorcas Quianoo

Dorcas Quianoo, mother of three, is one of the newest Global Mamas batikers. 

When Global Mamas brings new Mamas into the ‘family’, we take the commitment seriously. This means we hire with intention and only when we know we have the capacity to offer long-term, regular work for a new partner.

During Fashion Revolution week we wanted to introduce Dorcas Quianoo, one of the newest batikers to join our Cape Coast team. She started with Global Mamas in summer of 2018 and has been a part of batik production for the new 2019 line which is online now! Batik designer Nick Ruffalo was able to get in a quick interview with her during a training earlier this spring.

N: Why did you want to do batik?

D: I wanted to learn hairdressing but the school was full; they only had room for batik and beadmaking so I learned both.

N: How did you get trained in Batik? How long have you been batiking? When did you start batiking for your own business?

D: I went to vocational school in Tema to learn batik. My father was working as a policeman in Accra, but he’s retired now in Moree [just outside of Cape Coast]. I started my own business right out of school in Accra where I worked for a few years. I was making batik to sell at market and making good money. I’ve been in Cape Coast now for 12 years, but I’ve been selling food for the past 6 years. It was difficult work. I would wake up early to prepare and come home late to wash dishes.

N: Why did you want to come to Global Mamas and leave your food business?

D:  I learned batik, so I wanted to use what I learned to work. The money is now better in batik. Before, the money in food wasn’t reliable; my income wasn’t enough to pay back the bank for borrowing money. I left food because I was tired; preparing and cleaning up took all my time. Batik is also hard work, but at least there is time to rest at the end of the day. I receive steady orders from Global Mamas. It’s difficult sometimes with rejects, but otherwise it’s nice.

For years Dorcas had her own business preparing and selling food, but the income wasn’t reliable.

 N: What is something you’ve been able to do in the past year that you haven’t been able to before? What accomplishment are you proud of?

D: I have begun saving to build my own workshop. Right now, I have a table under a mango tree. I want to expand.

N: Have you enjoyed your work? What is one thing you enjoy about working for Global Mamas?

D: It’s nice to be back in batik. When I receive rejects, I like that they call me and will discuss it with me.

N: Do you support anyone?

D:  I support my three children: 2 girls, 1 boy. The eldest girl is now a beauty technician. She can do manicures, makeup and hair. My younger girl is 6 years, and the boy is 4 years. I also help support my junior brother’s son, who is 3 years old. He will start school soon and I will help him.

 N: Do you have any employees? What are your plans for your future business?

D: No, I do not have employees, but I want to grow and hire them. My goal would be to grow to have 5-10 employees. It would be great.

N: What is one long term goal you hope to achieve with the help of orders from Global Mamas?

D: I want my kids to finish school and graduate college. I also want to buy land and build a house.

We’re so pleased to have Dorcas on board and look forward to sharing how she reaches her goals in coming years. Thank you for joining us in wishing her a warm welcome to our community!   

Getting used to Global Mamas quality standards has been a learning curve, but Dorcas appreciates being able to have conversations about changes that need to be made. She’s pictured here working on a new sample with Global Mamas designer Abi.