On Friday, May 29th, Katrina Robertson faced the nine women graduating from Thistle Farms’ two-year Residential Program and said, “This has been a long time coming. You did it. You finished a two-year program with rules. When I graduated, other people had their own reasons they were happy for me, but all I could think about is how, for the first time in my life, I finally finished something.” Female empowerment is the cornerstone of Thistle Farms and the Magdalene Program, and the graduation ceremony brought together women that have been empowered and have found purpose through Thistle Farms.
Much like the Magdalene graduation ceremony that took place on May 29th, one of Thistle Farms’ Shared Trade partners, ABAN, celebrated graduation from their six-month women’s program, ABAN Women’s Empowerment (or AWE). ABAN is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to empowering young mothers in Ghana by selling beautiful, handmade products from recycled materials. The organization works to break the cycle of poverty by providing women with an education, employment, and a community – or a circle, if you will.
This year, 18 young women graduated from the revamped AWE program that focuses on homelessness prevention for young girls in local communities. These graduates are excited and encouraged to go on to find apprenticeships within the community accompanied by entrepreneurship trainings. The graduation was a testament to the women’s hard work as well as their future growth. This year, for the first time, the graduation was accompanied by a fashion show with do-it-yourself recycled clothing, which allowed the women to show off two months of hard work and diligence.
Congratulations to the women that graduated from both of these programs! Like Katrina said, there are many reasons for people to celebrate this day with the graduates… but we hope, most of all, that these graduates are happy and proud of themselves.