Women's Sustainability Program

In Ghana, 50 percent of women cannot read or write. They face difficulty entering the marketplace and most rural women are excluded from access to technology, land, credit, and formal education. We want to help women take care of their families and rise above their circumstances, and so we are creating sustainability options for them. If these women can learn a simple skill, such as sewing or bead making, they can bring in income to help make a better life for themselves and their families.

The Ankaase Bag

We are strategizing a small business venture for the women in the village who want to learn to sew. A published patterned designer and former television and film costume designer, Steffani Lincecum, has designed a simple-to-make, but beautifully practical bag that can be easily stitched by the women in the village.

Ghana is known for its gorgeous textiles and fabrics. Wax fabric (Batik) is produced through a method of using fiber reactive dyes to penetrate the fabric and create designs. We purchased the fabric in Ghana, and two local seamstresses produced 26 bags in six days. The opportunity to stitch these bags brought a quick source of income to two women, Hilda and Gifty, who are using their income as seamstresses to pay their children’s school fees.

These beautiful bags are for sale, with proceeds helping to fund the sustainability program. The design of this bag – multiple interior pockets and one large outer pocket – combined with the traditional Ghanaian fabric make it both practical and beautiful. And when you purchase The Ankaase Bag, you are receiving and giving. What a beautiful way to shop!

Seamstress Apprentice Sponsorships

Before a woman can begin her business as a seamstress, she must apprentice or attend sewing school. We are offering three women the opportunity to become a seamstress apprentice by matching them with sponsors. A sponsor will commit to give $40/month to a woman so she can devote herself to a three-year apprenticeship. This allows the women to stay in their village and work beside a seamstress. Many women in the village are unable to enter the apprenticeship because they must earn money each month to feed and educate their children. Many of these women are single mothers. We are looking for women who want to sponsor an apprentice and follow her progress through the program. A sponsor will be able to see her apprentice’s projects and communicate with her to give her encouragement as she begins her career.

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Other ways to help with the ACEF Women’s Sustainability Program

  • Give by the Yard
  • Contribute to the start-up fund for each woman’s entrance into the three-year apprenticeship program