We are a non-profit corporation responding to the decline of the textile industry and disparities affecting women with disabilities and families with children with disabilities in Ghana, West Africa.
More than 70% of second-hand clothing donations globally end up in Africa.1 Since these items cost less, many traders buy and sell these products, which destroys local textile industries and reduces demand for clothing made by seamstresses, tailors, and cloth-makers in the community. This affects the livelihoods of thousands directly and millions indirectly throughout West Africa. Across sub-Saharan Africa, the textile industry is a critical employer for underprivileged communities.2 It is also a significant source of income for women, who face gender-based discrimination in society and the workplace despite carrying more than half of the global work burden.3
Persons with disabilities and parents of children with developmental disabilities living in low-income communities in Ghana also encounter social discrimination and inaccessibility to basic services such as education and health care, which further influences their wellness.4 Despite the passage of a disability rights act in 2006 and efforts to increase awareness about disability, the lack of accessible transport, the high unemployment rate, and lingering social and spiritual attitudes about disability continue to pose barriers to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society.5 Existing interventions around women’s empowerment in Ghana have largely failed to consider disability, and organizations for persons with disabilities have emphasized men’s needs – leaving the challenges of women with disabilities and mothers with children with disabilities largely unaddressed.6
We started our work with a belief that the labor-intensive production of tie-dye presented a unique opportunity to create ethical employment supporting wellness in these vulnerable populations.
Mission & Vision:
MFC Tie-Dye Inc. is a non-profit corporation that sells sustainable tie-dye clothes, bags, accessories, and pet products manufactured ethically through our workshop partnership in Amasaman, Ghana.
Our mission is to support wellness among the women with disabilities and families with children with developmental disabilities supported through our workshop partnership.
Our vision is to develop a workshop partnership that achieves financial sustainability, measurable impacts, and local leadership and management.
Our founder, DL, first visited Ghana in 2013 to learn about the lives of persons with disabilities in Ghana, an experience that led to two more years spent researching and envisioning new ways to support advocates and existing grassroots change-makers. During this time, we worked on a project with the Disability Needs Foundation to support disability awareness in schools and undertake the Portraits of Ability photo-interview series. Later, we supported The Epicentre in the Include-Play-Learn project to fund scholarships for children with disabilities locally. Collectively, we referred to our work via these project partnerships as the Ghana Strong Initiative.
Through this project work, we came to believe that supporting grassroots change-makers in Ghana can be highly impactful but that a sustainable funding mechanism would be needed to create lasting change for individuals and across systems. In 2015 and 2016, we started competing in social enterprise competitions for business pitches that would employ persons with disabilities in Ghana and generate revenue to support non-profit empowerment work.
In June 2016, after completing university, DL returned to Ghana to partner with Matilda, a seamstress and business owner in Amasaman, Ghana and the mother of Ruby, a young woman with different developmental abilities. Matilda and DL had become friends over many years spent eating dinner at her house and having her design unique tie-dye clothes. What started as a small pilot project to expand Matilda's workshop and develop environmentally sustainable tie-dye clothes soon evolved into a larger, collective impact-making partnership changing attitudes about inclusion of people with disabilities and women's leadership at a community-level.
We incorporated as a non-profit corporation called MFC Tie-Dye Inc. in May 2017 and received designation as a tax-exempt public charity in September 2017. Our workshop partner was registered as a non-governmental organization in Ghana called the Matilda Flow Inclusion Foundation in March 2017.
The board of directors for MFC Tie-Dye Inc. are unpaid volunteers, who work to support the workshop manager and facilitate local leadership of the Matilda Flow Inclusion Foundation wherever possible. We plan to continue expanding our board to include additional skillsets, backgrounds, and lived experiences to inform our work.
Matilda Flow Inclusion Foundation:
The Matilda Flow Inclusion Foundation is our non-governmental organization partner in the Greater Accra region of Ghana registered in March 2017 that facilitates our impact by employing and training women with disabilities, parents and caretakers of children with disabilities, and other vulnerable people. The organization is currently directed jointly by Matilda Lartey, our workshop manager, and DL Lundberg, our founder. Matilda is a seamstress, existing business owner, and mother of a daughter with a disability. All MFC Tie-Dye products are manufactured through this foundation, which currently operates out of our first workshop partnership in Amasaman, Ghana.