Global Mamas is a fair trade clothing cooperative located in Ghana, West Africa supporting the sustainable development of women artisans by producing fair trade products. Global Mamas infuses business social responsibility in all aspects of their work, reducing the economic inequality of women by significantly increasing the revenues and profits of woman-owned businesses in Africa. They believe that helping women gain economic independence is the most effective way to reduce dependence on foreign aid and steadily create a prosperous society.
Global Mamas is a cooperative of individually-owned businesses working together to penetrate larger markets while maintaining their independence. Women are provided a "living wage" - over 10 times Ghana's minimum wage. Members are paid upfront for completed products and receive financial assistance through a raw materials revolving loan fund. This leaves more proceeds to fill the pockets of the women producers which promotes their social equality and gives them the much needed economic security and stability.
One of the biggest problems in Ghana is trash and pollution. If there was a main product that wholly symbolizes this issue, it would be drink sachets. Of the 270 tons of plastic waste generated every day in Ghana, 85% is from non-biodegradable plastic bags containing purified water and ice cream. This plastic material is chosen because it is easily accessible and hygienic, but it is far from being bio-degradable, and therefore takes quite a toll when it is not disposed of properly.
Trashy Bags has decided to take advantage of this durable material by using the discarded sachets to create purses, wallets, bags and accessories with a much longer and more useful life-span than the sachet components from which they are made.
The main goals of Trashy Bags are not just fulfilling its popular purpose of "cleaning up Ghana", but also to inform the public about the issue with drink sachets. Every customer, contributor, employee, and business partner of Trashy Bags is educated about the pollution problem in Ghana, what the organization is doing to counteract it, and how a single purchase can greatly contribute to these objectives.
In association with Global Mamas, Trashy Bags is constantly growing and expanding. By employing Ghanaians from all over the country, the organization has developed not only a strong team of workers, but a very dedicated one as well.
It wasn't until Olivia Apenuvor lost her mother and sister in 2007 when she decided to make some changes in her life. She had been working at a roofing tiles factory for two years, and while the pay was quite decent, the work was difficult and the working conditions only made it worse. When she heard about Trashy Bags, she felt it was the perfect opportunity to return to a trade that she actually enjoys.
She has come to appreciate so many things about working at Trashy Bags, where she has been employed since July 2008. On top of the wage she receives, she is also given money towards transportation every month. While her daughter, Divine, lives in Kumasi with her uncle, Olivia and her younger daughter, Francesca, took up residence in the Trashy Bags building, thanks to the manager, who was more than happy to help them out. However, Olivia and her daughter now live in Madina since she was able to save enough money and move out into their own place.
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New Internationalist supports Fair Trade producers like The Chetna Organic Cotton Project. Fair Trade promotes a fair wage and fair working conditions, encouraging developing world producers to help themselves.
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