We believe that the ultimate luxury is knowing the provenance and meaning of these baskets. Not only do the baskets reflect generations of traditional handicraft, they also provide income and financial independence for rural women in a context where employment is scarce and most women engage in unpaid labour in the home or on family farms. The collective of just over 200 women provides a supportive network whereby members have access to financial literacy training, sexual and reproductive health education and business support programs.
The artisans, part of a collective on the border of Ghana and Burkina Faso, take two to three days to hand weave each piece. Our products are completely sustainable: straw is procured locally, vegetable based dyes are used to dye the straw by hand and the weaving is all done by women in the collective.
Access to sanitary products causes girls around the world to lose countless school days each year. For each Mmaa bag that you purchase, a girl or young woman will receive a reusable sanitary kit (one pad holder, three washable pad liners, soap, six pairs of underwear and washing bag) that will help keep girls in school and help end the shame and silence around period poverty. The reusable sanitary kits are made by seamstresses within the collective therefore promoting another stream of income while also giving back to the community.
Rose has long been an advocate for her community and is responsible for the original - and largest- collective in Sumbrungu. In her own works, "We eat from the baskets, our children's education comes from the baskets, our clothes come from the baskets." She and the women she works with are at the very heart of all that we do. Basket weaving is a tradition that has passed down through the generations and we are honoured to work with these talented artisans to ensure that they are fairly paid for their craft.
Dorcas deserves her own website as she is truly a wonder woman! Her background of extreme rural poverty didn't limit her, it inspired her to strive every day to make a difference to her community. She is a global advocate for livelihood opportunities for rural women. She established ASIGE - Advocacy for Social Inclusion and Girls' Education - to reach the most marginalised members of her community and is committed to reaching 500,000 women with her advocacy work. Alongside the Collectives, ASIGE also runs girls' education programs, promotes awareness around teenage pregnancy, fights period poverty in school and provides financial literacy training.
Deb was overwhelmingly inspired by Dorcas when they first met in Ghana in July 2017. A few baskets to Cambridge later, Mmaa was born! Previously, she worked in the City for ten years and then did her PhD in Cambridge and worked with CAMFED, the Campaign for Female Education. She is completely passionate about the transformative power of the Collectives on communities. See/hear more with her TedX talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9YJgdb6dew