Our workshop partnership employs seamstresses, tailors, and apprentices and supports skills training and business creation for cloth-makers, knitters, and community members in Greater Accra, Ghana.
Seamstresses & Tailors:
Our workshop partnership employs seamstresses and tailors to sew sustainable tie-dye products. This program targets women with disabilities, who make up at least half of the cohort, but also includes other vulnerable women and men for an inclusive workforce. Seamstresses earn a living work. Most of the workers hope to open their own independent sewing shops after a few years at the workshop and are saving toward this goal. As full-time workers, they earn benefits including social security, housing relocation support, and health care benefits.
The workshop's cloth-making program provides six-month of paid cloth-making training and a business start-up grant to participants. The program targets mothers, parents, or caretakers of children with developmental disabilities. Participants earn a living wage stipend for the duration of their training, and at the end of the program, they receive a two-part business start-up grant worth approximately 1500 GHS (350 USD) to open their own cloth-making business or other independent shop to support their child's needs.
The workshop's apprentice program trains unskilled workers in sewing and fashion design over a period of two or three years. The program targets women with disabilities and adults with developmental disabilities who seek to learn an occupational trade. Participants earn a living wage stipend per month for the duration of their apprenticeship. By comparison, most apprentices in Ghana are required to pay for training. Apprentices with developmental disabilities are paired one-to-one with other experienced apprentices, who provide individualized learning and tutoring support as part of their conditions for receiving these stipends. As full-time workers, they earn benefits including social security, housing relocation support, and preventative health services.
The workshop's knitting program provides training and a flexible income generating method for individuals who work-from-home or part-time. The program targets persons with physical disabilities who use wheelchairs or have mobility restrictions and parents or caretakers of children with developmental disabilities. Knitters receive looms and weekly deliveries of yarn produced from secondhand cotton t-shirt scraps at the workshop. They start as contract employees and are paid for the number of products they make. After several months of demonstrated work, they can become full-time employees with a monthly salary and health care benefits.
MFI Foundation’s Executive Director, Matilda Lartey, also serves as the workshop manager. As the owner of the workshop where MFI Foundation’s work occurs, she receives a monthly payment from Make Fashion Clean (MFC) for use of the workshop space to produce the fashion it sells to support the non-profit missions of MFC and MFI Foundation.
Every month, the workshop hosts a free on or off-site community program to train participants in basic tie-dye and soap-making techniques so that they can produce and sell their own handiwork to meet their needs. The program targets women with disabilities, mothers or caretakers of children with disabilities, and unemployed women but is open to all community members. The training is an all-day event and includes lectures and practical demonstrations. The programs are led by the workers and manager and seek to engage the community in awareness about the workshop's social mission of including persons with disabilities and encouraging women's leadership.