If you saw me on my Sonoma Rose book tour earlier this year, you might have found your eye captivated by the beautiful batik purse and computer bag I brought along on my travels.
These are two of the many beautiful handbags batiked and sewn by women in Ghana, and offered for sale by an organization called Point Hope. The mission of Point Hope is to be “a voice for forgotten children.” To that end, they offer support services to children within the foster care system here in the United States, and also operate numerous emergency relief and educational programs to support families, widows, and children in Africa. One of these programs helps the women of Ghana aquire marketable job skills by teaching them the art of batik design, a labor-intensive, time-consuming process that results in equisite, unique fabrics from which the women create various handicrafts like my own two bags. As Point Hope explains on their website, “The graduates of this course have trained others and have worked with the ladies from the sewing course to create garments and accessories. They have also recently registered in Ghana as their own business under Project Hope: Gye Nyame to establish themselves as residents of Ghana and successful entrepreneurs. This is a major step toward independence and a prosperous future for these brave women who have known such hardship and tragedy.”
Earlier this year, I happended to meet Point Hope Executive Director Jan Haynes in the green room of the Wisconsin Public Televsion studios, where we were both taping episodes of Nancy Zieman's program, Sewing with Nancy. I was delighted to see Jan's photographs of the women from Ghana batiking the very fabric from which my computer bag was made.
You too can support these entreprenurial women of Ghana by purchasing a batik bag through Point Hope. When you visit their website, you can also learn more about the important work Point Hope accomplishes both here in the United States and abroad, and you can discover other ways you can support their mission.
I love the idea of women supporting other women in their efforts to become self-sufficient, independent, and prosperous—especially stitchers supporting other stitchers!