I’m jumping ahead 10 years in the timeline of the Eternal Threads journey, but it’s an important story to tell now because we have the opportunity to take part in a one day crowd funding venue on May 15th to raise funds for Rafiatu and the women she serves.
I had traveled extensively over the years, but had never been on the continent of Africa when I decided in 2010 to go to Nigeria to visit a young woman that Eternal Threads met at Abilene Christian University, and also to Accra, Ghana to meet a young woman that we hoped to work with in the future – Rafiatu Adams.
Rafiatu had spent much of her growing up years in the home of Christian missionaries in one of the poorest regions of northern Ghana. When her father died, her family wanted to marry her to an older man when she was only 16 years old, but Rafiatu had other plans for herself and for others. She wanted to do something with her life that would make a difference for the poor women in her community.
After graduating from high school she went to the capital city of Accra where she did menial jobs to save money for university. She was accepted to university, but life on campus was difficult economically because she didn’t have a means of sponsorship. That’s when she decided to use a talent she already had to earn some income. When I met her she said, “I love making beaded bracelets and usually gave them to my friends as gifts, but then I thought…hmmm, maybe I could sell them!” An entrepreneur was born!! A generous woman give her a small amount of money to get started and she knew she was taking a risk, but she spent it ALL on beads. She sold them on campus and in the city on days off, and then reinvested to buy more beads.
We met her when she was finishing her university studies in Sociology. She had a dream to go back to her rural village and teach the women to make jewelry so they could earn some desperately needed income. Before we left Accra, we gave her the first order for her new venture. She started with twenty women and now employs seventy five women.
Eternal Threads helped her establish Beads of Hope, a non-profit organization through which she does training for the women and provides start-up kits for their jewelry making and sewing as well as sponsoring children to attend school. She has since established a social enterprise through which to sell the goods, Detiina which means…BE THE HOPE.
Rafiatu NEVER stops working for her dream and the women. She regularly travels 14 hours on the bus to go to Accra to get raw materials and market their goods in hotels and gift shops. Eternal Threads has helped her with funding to build jewelry cases to showcase the goods in the hotels and shops. See their beautiful designs on EternalThreads.org.
Because it is difficult to sell enough jewelry to keep the women working full-time, Rafiatu has a new plan to provide the women with chickens to raise and sell in the market place. She has so many plans to become a sustainable enterprise. Your help would be amazing…She is Priceless