Ghana is significantly improving as a nation. It ranks as one of the top three countries in Africa for freedom, speech, and press freedom (World Bank 2018).
We arrived in the village of Nyariga in 2005, where we learned that a group of illiterate mothers known as the Doone’s Mothers Club had scraped together funds to start a school for their daughters. Helping artisans, alongside Whole Foods Market, we have built a school called The Doone Girls School. Together we were able to build a computer lab, water well, and bathrooms.
Our baskets from Ghana are woven with Elephant Grass. This material doesn’t grow in the region Nyariga is located in. Therefore, it has to be purchased. To ensure the maximum amount of money is put into the hands of our artisans, we buy the straw in bulk during growing season and store it in the straw bank built in cooperation by Whole Foods Market.
Using their teeth, the artisan splits the straw down the middle creating two thin pieces. The artisan then repeatedly rolls the two pieces together, known as twisting–this process requires a smooth flat surface to achieve just the right kind of twist for weaving. Once the straw is twisted, it is put into a pot of boiling dye. Depending on the color and amount of straw being dyed, it takes about 20 minutes for the straw to achieve the full color of the dye. The straw is laid in the sun to dry. Only after the straw is dried does the weaving process finally begin.
TECHNIQUE: “over/under” technique, which enables the artisan to create beautiful patterns and shapes
HANDLES: elephant grass wrapped with goat leather
TIME FRAME: It takes the average Ghanaian artisan 2.5 days to weave a basket.
Simon was able to buy all of the livestock you see here in Northern Ghana because we paid him more than anyone in the world for his baskets. However, our great financial model breaks down if no one buys his baskets. That’s where you come in. Every time you purchase one set of his baskets, Simon can feed his family of six 3 good meals a day for 3 days. Our Prosperity Wages model combined with Simon’s ambition to weave and your purchase results in powerful teamwork that changes lives.
Camera Aseka is proof Ten by Three Prosperity Wages financial model ends poverty. When we found him in 2005, he was hundreds of miles from home, because poverty forced him to live on the streets. His only source of income was selling his baskets to middlemen for a few pennies profit. We returned him home and started paying him Prosperity Wages to weave Blessing Baskets. Today we find Camera no longer weaving but running a successful photography business which he started with his weaving money. Camera’s hard work, the of his baskets, and our unique Prosperity Wages model started a chain reaction enabling him to permanently break free from the grip of poverty. Camera graduated from poverty and exited our program in June of 2012.
Memuna is the first woman to open a general store in her village in Northern Ghana. Her pioneering entrepreneurial spirit was given wings thanks to the Prosperity Wages she earned from Ten by Three. Not only was she able to provide for her four children, but she also planted a large tomato crop. The money she raised from selling that crop enabled her to open this small store. She has gone on to expand the store several times, even constructing a building from which she operates her successful venture. Memuna graduated from poverty and exited our program in June of 2012.