Mercy Transforms Passion in to Profit

By Victoria Yamson – Program Coordinator

Mercy at TGC meeting. This photo was by Dela Aniwa.

Mercy was the only girl from Bedabour, a community in the Ashanti region of Ghana, to attend senior high school in 2014. Mercy dreamt of becoming a fashion designer, so she was determined to study clothing and textiles in senior high school. After completing school, Mercy wasn’t able to find a job in her field, but she was still determined to pursue her dream.

Mercy returned to Bedabour and started helping with the Teen Girls Club.

Mercy designing shoes.

During that time, Self-Help International staff coordinated a training on bead work with both the Teen Girls Club and the micro-credit program in the community. Mercy learned how to use beads to embellish shoes and sandals, and she saw a new opportunity to use her love for design. With assistance from her mother, who was also a part of the training, she was able to perfect her skill.

Mercy knew she could translate this new skill in to work in fashion and design. Mercy’s older brother and uncle were cobblers in Kumasi, the capital of the region, and Mercy asked to join them in their venture. She added value to the shoes and slippers her brother produced by using beads to design them and by stamping the sizes on the shoes. This helped increase the price they could sell the shoes in the market because of the new design and branding.

Mercy is able to utilize the practical skills she gained in school and, through Self-Help’s trainings, she is able to support herself and establish a savings to continue to pursue her dream of becoming a fashion designer.

Mercy and her uncle in his shop.

To see more photos by Dela Aniwa, take a look on Instagram @dela_madeit.