Shoes. We all love them. We just can’t seem to have enough of them. Each season requires a new type of shoe, right? Top that with hundreds of colors, shapes, sizes, styles, prints…shoes can be quite the rabbit hole if we aren’t mindful! Now, I’m not here to tell you stop buying shoes- by no means! What I would love to do is gently encourage you to ask, “Who made my shoes? Where did they come from?”
While living in Uganda back in 2013, I had the honor and opportunity to have an unplanned dinner with Liz and Ben Andes, the hilarious, driven, loving couple behind Sseko Designs. I quickly learned more about what this innovative, empowering company was doing for women in Uganda.
The basics: Women all over the world regularly face injustice because they are female. “In patriarchal and male dominated societies, women are not afforded the same employment and economic opportunities as their male counterparts (Mission & Impact).” Inability to find secure work because of one’s gender may boggle your mind, but it remains fact. Horrifically, many women are coerced or forced into human trafficking while trying to obtain work to provide for themselves or their families. Lack of finances directly impacts women’s ability to obtain a higher education. I understand and feel it too: the world can seem like such a devastating place when you start investigating the realities + injustices happening in so many countries around our globe.
When I hear facts like this, it’s easy to become discouraged. I’m just one person. What could I do to have any impact on this issue? Friends, have hope! Don’t relent! One company that is helping to infuse more hope into the live’s of women in Uganda is Sseko Designs. Their model? Provide women with sustainable job security through crafting gorgeous shoes, bags, and accessories + help them save for higher education in the process. “Sseko Designs provides employment during the 9 month gap between high school and university where high potential young women are able to earn and save enough money to pay for college tuition. 50% of their salary each month goes into a savings account that is not accessible until tuition is due. This ensures that their income goes towards education (Mission & Impact).”
Okay, now let me just rave about the handcrafted beauties this company creates. I currently own a pair of Sseko’s classic Ribbon Sandals. I love that by purchasing one pair of shoes, I can style them hundreds of ways! I will admit, it took me some time to figure out how to tie them correctly, both for comfort + style. But after some practice, I’ve mastered a few ties from their website + crafted a few styles of my own!
With fall fast approaching, take note that Sseko Designs makes incredible (and comfortable!) d’orsay flats + oxfords + loafers + ballets flats + booties. As you peruse the fall flash sales and stock up on essentials for that winter vacation you are currently planning, be reminded of companies that are empowering others through your purchase. If you are planning to buy new products regardless, why not purchase more intentionally and impact our world for the better?