Empowering communities, one stitch at a time.
As part of our female empowerment initiative, we started a social enterprise named the ‘Women’s Sewing Circle’. Our circle empowers women economically and socially, while supporting Baobuyu’s wider empowerment projects.
Several members of the ‘Vision for Women’ collective are trained in tailoring by an independent tailor. Initially, they created ‘doggie’ bandanas for our four legged friends which we debuted in 2019. After trialling our bandanas with family and friends, we sold them through various outlets in the US, UK, The Netherlands, Canada and Zambia. And, so, the ‘African Dog’ was born… More recently, our craftswomen have added beautiful purses, tote and yoga bags, crafted out of African chitenge fabric, to our collection. Chitenge is a bright, durable material which features a variety of African-inspired traditional and modern prints.
While the craftswomen are in training, 100% of the profits support our school and our female empowerment group, ‘Girl Power’. Baobuyu reinvests in the Mwandi community through projects like entrepreneurship programmes, intensive first aid courses and puberty workshops. Once the craftswomen complete their training, they will receive 70% of the profits, with the remaining 30% funding resources like art materials, booklets and skills-based workshops.
It is estimated that only 27% of girls in Zambia complete secondary school, and among the poorest of children this falls to 3% (UNICEF, 2019). Each bandana and tote bag symbolises a step forward in breaking this cycle of poverty. Our hope is that this training will pave the path to independence through the establishment of their own micro-enterprises in the future.
The ‘Sewing Circle’ is in its early stages but we are excited to see it thrive and expand. In time, we hope to welcome more women from low socio-economic backgrounds into the group. By sharing their passion and skills across generations, we also hope that the women will spark a ripple effect within their communities, with every woman determining the course of her own future.
Tammy, the Director of Baobuyu, shares what the initiative means to her:
“I truly believe that empowering women will end the cycle of poverty. Our artisans have demonstrated the passion and commitment needed to make a change within their lives and within their children and grandchildren’s lives. They come to work with happy hearts, an eagerness to learn and a willingness to become a better person each and every day. My dream is for the women to have their own thriving businesses one day. I want their lives to change for the better.”
If you are interested in purchasing or selling our products in your country, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We may even be able to arrange a special delivery via DHL, visitors or friends returning home from Zambia!
Meet the Artisans!
Through different workshops, I’ve learnt the importance of saving, which has brought me closer to my dream of owning land one day. Being a member of the ‘Sewing Circle’ has given me a sense of purpose and independence.
I am proud that I can now mentor other women in the circle. I am also proud of myself because my job has allowed me to support my daughter who is in third grade. I am a strong woman, an unshakeable woman and a good role model to other single mothers in the community.
In the future, I’d love to see Lydia, my daughter, finish school and go to college. I would also like to build my own circle for women walking similar paths.
I’ve always had a passion for hand-sewing. As part of the ‘Sewing Circle’, I’ve learnt how to use a sewing machine, cut patterns, set targets and to grow in confidence. It’s given me a sense of belonging. My biggest achievement is making 500 reusable pads for vulnerable girls in rural villages. I hope to use my sewing skills to support other girls and young women at home and in the community.
In the future, I’d like to finish building my house and to continue providing for my family. I’d love to buy my own sewing machine one day, too.
I enjoy working with a close team of women. I’m thankful for the opportunity to pass these skills onto my children. I take the empowerment I feel here, as part of the circle, home with me. It makes me a better mother and a better member of the community.
In the future, I’d like to become self-sufficient and buy a settlement for my family where I can grow potatoes, plant vegetables and keep chickens. My main goal is to uplift other women in the community and those who are vulnerable, like orphans and older people.
I’ve found a passion for sewing and I’m thankful for the opportunity. My proudest achievement, so far, is adding ‘poppers’ to all the reusable pads. I did this during my first few days of being in the circle.
I can’t wait to see Blessing, my daughter, grow and finish pre-school at Baobuyu. I’m currently caretaking a plot of land and I’d love to move into my own property one day.