Patricia is a 27-year-old ball of liveliness. Anytime she sees a camera, she implores the photographer to take a shot of her from one to five different angles, shifting her pose each time.
Last November, a friend told Patricia there was a sewing job available with Amani Liberia, so she requested an interview. She was asked if she was a good stitcher. “I said yes,” she says, with an air of playfully exaggerated pride. “I learned to stitch in Guinea.”
While gushing about Amani (she says the phrase “I loooove Amani!” frequently), she explains that when she worked in Guinea as a seamstress, she was paid very little and had to use the money to support others. However, since working at Amani, she has saved enough money to finally pursue her dream. “My life is different (at Amani) because I get money on my own! I am saving my money; I am buying my own machine!”
The machine Patricia wants to buy is a non-electric, treadle sewing machine and she hopes to open her own tailor shop. “I will be boss Patricia,” she says, and erupts into a fit of giggles. Sewing machines run about $130 USD, and Patricia has a good portion of that amount saved already.
A typical business might be upset to hear that one of their best employees will soon have enough money to leave and start a venture of her own. But Hannah Lenore, Country Director of Amani Liberia, has a different purpose:
“We measure our success not on our profit-gain, but rather how we can impact lives. My hope is to see many people like Patricia come through Amani and learn the necessary skills to provide for their families. Seeing women gain confidence, grow in their faith, and have their dreams flourish is more profitable to us at Amani than any dollar amount.”
When Patricia was asked if she would like to share anything with Amani fans who might be reading this blog or purchasing Amani items, she sat up straight and became suddenly serious, her usual spirited demeanor strangely absent. “Thank you very much. You make me to get my own machine.”