Sometimes an idea seems so obvious, it's a wonder no one's ever thought to do it before. Such is the idea behind FashionABLE, an Addis Ababa-based non-profit.
Weaving scarves as a sustainable employment alternative to sex work
More than just a new job: training for a new life
A simple idea, but making it work is remarkably complicated.
FashionABLE partners with Women At Risk, an organization that reaches out to and rehabilitates prostitutes by providing counseling, health care, job training, and a small stipend so they can support themselves during the year-long rehabilitation process. We met with the Director of Women At Risk, Cherry Teketel, who shared her passion to connect with and help these women build a new life.
Watch this video: I think you'll see why Cherry captivated us.
FashionABLE fits into the picture as a source of employment once rehabilitation is well underway.
Hearing the women's personal stories
Not only were we able to join the women as they dyed cotton, spun thread and wove the delicate scarves on large, twig-based looms, we were able to listen as they told us their stories.
Saba and Mulu (with Cherry translating from Amharic) each told us about the different, desperate paths that led them to the streets, and then, to FashionABLE. Each expressed great pride in their ability to not only to produce something of beauty and value, but to support themselves while doing it.
As Saba said simply, "Here I have found peace."
Each FashionABLE scarf is named after a women who works there, and each bears a hangtag with her handwritten note. This is Saba's message:
Because of you, I am ABLE to feel pride in my work. Thank you, Saba
Buy a FashionABLE scarf!
Soft, delicate FashionABLE scarves are an ideal gift — for you, someone you love, or your favorite teacher.
Each purchase supports a job for a woman who needs it, and all the profits from the sale go straight back to Women At Risk, helping to reach out to even more women.
Pick your favorite colors and patterns at LiveFashionable.com.
Photo credit: ONE/Karen Walrond
Tomorrow, we leave Addis for a two-day stop in Bahir Dar, a city in Northwest Ethiopia and the site of Lake Tana. We will be learning about agriculture and nutrition, and will get a glimpse of rural life. I hear the Internet connection can be spotty, so fingers crossed. Cell coverage seems fine, though, so keep an eye on the #ONEMoms hastag on Twitter and Instagram.
* * *
I’m in Ethiopia as an expense-paid guest of the ONE Campaign. ONE is a non-partisan organization that fights poverty and preventable disease, primarily in Africa.
The idea behind the ONEMoms partnership is simple: the connection we share as parents extends around the world. When we recognize that connection and come together, we can make real change.
ONE will never ask for your money, just your voice. If you're moved by what you're reading here (or on any of the ONEMom teams' blogs) please consider joining ONE, and spreading the word about our ONEMoms journey this week!
More: Posts about ONEMoms