Bowties and Women's Economic Freedom

by Michelle Wijaya June 10, 2015

How can bowties be a fashion statement for women's empowerment in Uganda?

Lion's Thread is a social enterprise that focuses on fashionable, high-quality products that make a community impact and change women's lives. Need a Father's Day gift? Give your Dad a symbol of economic freedom from Eastern Uganda. See our collection of bowties at Shared Trade. If you need a brush-up on how to tie a bow-tie, watch this great video

We wanted to share their inspiring story from Sydney, their Creative Director.

We hire talented, women artisans in rural Uganda to handcraft bow ties out of African textiles to sell here in the United States. Our Director of Operations, Sarah, has been with us since day one. She is our key decision-maker on everything from what fabrics to use each season to our operational budget and who will become employee of the month.

Sarah is also our biggest success story. Lion's Thread not only employees her, but also her daughter, who is our Head Seamstress. When we first met Sarah, she could not afford a house and was renting a very run-down apartment in the middle of Iganga, a small town in Eastern Uganda. The apartment was one-room, the kitchen was outside and the bathrooms were shared by the entire community. Sarah was vying for privacy and a space for her children and grandchildren to play.
With income and a small loan from Lion's Thread, she recently moved into a beautiful home just outside of town with her own private toilet and bathing rooms and a bed to call her own. Her grandchildren are now in the best secondary schools in the area and Sarah has been able to pay down her debt while meeting all her monthly expenses. She is also enrolled in both computer and financial literacy classes and has opened a savings account. Lion's  Thread was able to bring Sarah and her family a new beginning.

Stories like Sarah's are why we focus on such a small cohort of women. We want to do the best we can for this group of 7, allowing them to lead the way towards what they never envisioned possible.

Through your support and our partners like Lion's Thread, we are able to continue the global movement to promote women's economic freedom for women like Sarah in Uganda. 

Michelle Wijaya
Michelle Wijaya

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