Seams of Change
Nov 12, 2020

In recent years, the word entrepreneur has come to evoke a creative and successful individual who “disrupts” an existing system with an internet-based technology. But at the Foyer de Jeunes Filles in Tambacounda, the female entrepreneurs we work with are improving women’s lives with a simple technology: sewing machines.

Sutura, the small-scale sewing business we helped establish at the Foyer in 2017, is thriving by making reusable sanitary pads, tote bags, and masks. Its team, consisting of local tailors and former students of the Foyer, just received its biggest order yet: the NGO Carrefour International has requested over 3000 reusable pads. The huge order, which Sutura is beginning to fill, will raise several thousand dollars that will both pay the tailors who are part of Sutura and cover some of the cost of expanding their production space, which will allow them to grow their business.

(Want to help with the expansion? Donate!)

Sanitary pads are not readily available in Tambacounda. Their lack, combined with social stigma regarding menstruation, means that many young women find themselves in uncomfortable circumstances each month, improvising pads or skipping school. Sutura was created to help eliminate this problem, and was modeled on the business She for She, created by Mary Consolata Namagambe, who visited the Foyer to introduce the idea and to teach a small group to make reusable pads.

The initiative took off. The team was soon supplying pads to the Foyer and to Dr. Magueye Ba for distribution in the medical clinics of Sinthian, Fass and Kocoum. Sutura also began selling to local associations through word-of-mouth. “Now, numerous organizations devoted to reproductive health come to see me about ordering the pads,” said Maimouna Ka Sow, director of the Foyer, who helps Le Korsa oversee Sutura.

Sutura has even expanded its offerings to include tote bags and, because of the pandemic, masks. The small investment Le Korsa made in Sutura is paying off — the team now has the training and notoriety it needs to excel, and more young women have access to sanitary pads. Our hope is that soon enough, Sutura will be profitable on its own, and provide the Foyer with another source of income.

In the meantime, we hope you will join us in supporting these incredible entrepreneurs! A donation of just $5.00 will buy a set of reusable pads for a young woman in Tambacounda. If you can’t join us now, we hope you will save the date for #GivingTuesday on December 1, when people around the world join together to celebrate generosity. This year we are raising money for all of the Foyer’s programs, and we hope we can count on you.

Thank you, as always, for your support.