A few weeks ago I stopped a girl from my floor in the building’s elevator to complement her shoes. The were so cute, yet so simple, with a plain base and mint colored ribbons swirling around her ankles. I expected a quick “thank you,” but instead I got an explanation. She told me that she normally wouldn’t be one to promote things like this, but she thought it was for a good cause, so she told me to go to ssekodesigns.com and check out the backstory. I did, and now I’m obsessed.
After finishing high school in Uganda, students are given nine months off before entering university to be able to earn money to pay for tuition. Unfortunately, it is a huge challenge for women in Uganda to be able to find a job, as the job market is down and the few available jobs are given to men. Because of this, many well-educated, talented and driven women do not continue their education. This is where Sseko Designs comes in.
Sseko Designs works to provide sustainable, fair-wage employment to women in Uganda by hiring women from all walks of life to work during their nine moth gap from school. In doing this, the company creates opportunity for women in East Africa to “end the cycle of poverty and create a more equitable society.” Once the employees graduate from working at Sseko Designs, they are able to finally pursue their university degrees and reach their potential to accomplish their wildest dreams.
So, what exactly does Sseko Designs sell?
1. Sandals. These are my favorite. You can choose from a T-strap sandal or a ribbon sandal, both equally chic and versatile. The company sells small jewels, referred to as “accessories,” that can be attached to the shoe to change its look. Additionally, they offer a wide selection of colored ribbons to choose from that can be laced in countless ways. Their website features a page with links to youtube videos that serve as instruction for each type of lacing.
2. Scarves. Handwoven from Eri silk and soft, Ethiopian cotton in a variety of colors and prints, there is a look for everyone. The fact that they are made by hand with a story behind each one, instead of mass-produced in a factory makes them so worth it.
3. Bags. Do you want a cross-body bag? They have those. What about a leather tote? They have those too. And a clutch? They even have those. The cross-body bags are made from highland sheepskin leather and handcrafted in Ethiopia. The leather totes are made with high quality leather from Kenya. Some bags are even lined with traditional West African fabric. Every small touch shows you just how much love and hard work is put into each bag.
If you haven’t fallen in love yet, just go to the website I mentioned earlier in this post. Once you see all they have to offer, and the story behind it, you’ll be sure to cave and buy yourself or someone you know one of their products. Enjoy!