We held our first House Party on September 17 in Tulsa, and, yes, it was a party! One of our board members graciously opened her home so a group of about 25 adults and their children could enjoy an authentic Ghanaian meal prepared for our resident Rising Village caterer. The party-goers listened to the stories and passion behind our work in Ghana, and purchased products that helped fund batik training and micro loans for two women in the Northern Region of Ghana. The shoppers got us within $50 of completely funding Janet and Comfort, so we kicked in the remainder. We're planning for the two women to start their training the first week of October and receive their loan by mid-October.
This is how "shopping for good" can directly benefit women who need economic opportunity. Because the house partiers shopped, training and loans for two women were funded in one evening. The proceeds from house parties always directly benefit women in our Income Generation program, so when you book and host a party, it's so much much more than just shopping and a host gift (did we mention you will receive a gift for hosting?)
If you would rather not host a house party, we have options for places we can provide. We're working to make this easy for you because the model of shopping for the good of others is something that resonates. We all love to shop, and when we know that the money we hand over for a product goes to projects that help women gain sustainable income, it's a satisfying experience that doesn't fade once we get our products home. More good news: you don't need a large space to accommodate the products. We can fit the "shop" to the space available.
So, how does this fit into our mission of providing economic opportunity and education so families can stay together? The story of Nmaa is a good example. She is a single mother with four children. She weaves beautiful baskets from elephant grass, a sturdy straw found in the Upper East region of Ghana. Her basket weaving business was in trouble because she could only purchase the supplies to weave in small quantities, which means she was paying more for those supplies and that was eating into her profit. After falling behind, she was purchasing the supplies on credit, which threw her even further into a precarious financial situation. Nmaa was assessed and found to be an experienced weaver and someone who understood the fundamentals of a business. She just needed capital infusion to get her out of debt and to a place where she was turning a profit.
After receiving a grant for bulk supplies, we committed to purchasing 25 baskets from Nmaa, which allowed her to pay off her debts and begin saving. She continues to weave, and now she is earning reliable income. She is able to pay school fees and care for her children's needs instead of continually borrowing and struggling to pay back creditors with the little she earned.
We continue to purchase Nmaa's baskets and do business with her because we love to tell her story and offer her beautiful creations to consumers here in the U.S. Our House Parties will always include baskets woven by Nmaa, Teni, and soon Gifty and Akuli, who are awaiting a grant to expand their basketweaving business.
Gambibigo is a small community outside Bolgatanga where the basket weavers raise their families and weave their baskets. The Upper East Region is the poorest region in Ghana and life there is difficult. We believe providing women the hand up they need to be successful businesswomen and creative producers is worth the challenge.
So when you book a House Party, you can be certain that 1) you will be offering your partygoers products that Nmaa, Teni, Hudu, Lydia, Georgina and all the women in our IG program have created. You will also be able to purchase products from our partner organizations: JOYN, Global Mamas, Ajiri Tea, Bonnie's Botanicals, Matr Boomie, and Good Paper. The profit from each House Party will go to our IG program to provide more female heads of households economic opportunity and sustainable income so they can provide for the needs of their children.