Not just any old pair of sandals, the ones featured in this post by Sseko Designs, are giving marginalized women in East Africa the opportunity to gain a higher education. Sseko Designs is a socially responsible and “ethical fashion brand based in Uganda”, that produces handmade and locally sourced goods. Founded by Liz Forkin Bohannon, whose mission is to help women create a sustainable life for themselves, the company works towards ending the cycle of poverty and creating a more equitable society. The women are employed for fair wages, compensated appropriately and 50% of their earnings are put away for university. Sseko then grants scholarships that match up to 100% of the savings each woman has made during her 9 month session. Strong women, who dream of a bigger and brighter future, all that’s needed is an opportunity. A chance. To date, Sseko has enabled 47 women to continue on to university. In addition to the education itself, women like Sofia, whose odds were against her, says Sskeo“ has empowered me, has made me realize that I am a person in this world, a girl with big dreams in the future, a girl ready to change Uganda, my country, and become somebody powerful.” You can read more stories from women like Sofia here.
I not only love the authenticity of these sandals, but believe in the stories behind them. When I received mine, I immediately felt connected to a greater purpose. The base of the shoe, the ribbon to tie around my ankle – I felt incredibly moved by the fact that the materials had passed through the hands of a woman who is being given the opportunity to work towards living the life she desires. Sseko sandals are crafted from passion, from love, and from hope.
We as women must help empower each other. To make our world a more beautiful and peaceful place, it’s up to all of us to become more socially responsible. To be conscious. Join in me in becoming a part of the solution, not the problem. Like Sseko says, “If we considered the impact that each product we consume has on the lives of those who produced that product and chose to see consumerism as a force and opportunity for positive social change, we believe the world would be filled with beautiful products with even more beautiful stories.” We have the power to make a difference through the smallest of actions. And the best way to put that into practice is to start by looking within. Style from the inside out, let “Your Soul Style” shine through.
Head over to Sseko to learn more, get involved and shop the full collection.
photos via jeff thibodeau