For deaf women in Africa, life can be tough and the opportunities for employment and independence extremely limited. But one social entrepreneur, Megan MacDonald of SASA Designs by the Deaf, is making real and lasting change happen for these women by providing meaningful employment, training and a sense of community, plus the ability to support their children and their education.
As part of our focus on game-changing women social entrepreneurs in Africa this month, we had the pleasure of talking to Megan MacDonald, founder of Sasa Designs by the Deaf this month to find out more about this amazing enterprise and the significant impact it is making on the lives of deaf women in Kenya.
What does your company do?
I am an accidental entrepreneur in fact! I was originally hired to be the business manager of a small fundraising project for a larger missionary organization. Having focused my M.A. research in Development Studies on ethical and fair trade fashion artisans accessing e-commerce markets, I knew that the project had much greater potential. However, while I deeply believed in the potential for the artisan sector, I was also seeing a lot of projects and brands getting a lot of hype and exposure – but not successfully keeping their partner artisans working consistently. When looking at economic development and trying to help people take steps up the economic ladder, inconsistency in income is one of the biggest impediments to long-term, sustainable change. We’ve made providing a full-time, consistent salary, a focus at Sasa Designs by the Deaf. We aren’t very big, but in the lives of our team of deaf women, we are seeing a credible change in their ability to provide for themselves and their family. We know that the true impact will be in their ability to keep their children healthy and in school – that generation is going to reach entirely new heights because of their mothers’ employment.