New colors, fabrics, and patterns are on the way! We can't wait to show you what the Nala women in Africa have been creating!
Click on the video below to learn more!
Nala is a program of Faith that Works that combats poverty and oppression by teaching women to sew and paying them a fair wage for their work while raising awareness about gender inequality. Nala was created as an answer to a very real struggle our founder, Terri Stipanovich, saw in East Africa: the oppression of women and girls. As our leaders worked in immigrant and refugee communities, we continued encountering stories of women suffering from gender inequality and things like female genital mutilation (FGM), religious oppression, child marriage, and forced labor. Nala is designed as a long-term, sustainable solution to elevate the status of women through enterprise. In October 2015, we started a fabric and sewing business with women in East Africa and in January 2017 we were able to launch Nala U.S., extending the program to Somali refugees in the st. Louis community. We teach women in Nala how to sew while providing them with a living wage and a positive work environment. The handmade pieces they create are then purchased in the US, which generates the women's salaries. The word Nala stands for "us." We chose this name to represent our feeling that the struggle of a girl or woman in East Africa is also our struggle. We believe that injustice has a rippling effect on our world, and it is our call to fight for our sisters who are not considered equal to men and lack the opportunities that most Western women enjoy.
STORIES OF CHANGE
MY GRANDMOTHER WAS DYING so I traveled a far distance to say goodbye, as my culture mandates. When I arrived I was met with accusations about my faith and some physical abuse. I am a Christian and that is not accepted in my culture. I was kidnapped and forced to marry a man I did not know, but he was from my clan. This man held me hostage and repeatedly raped me. I became pregnant. I knew I must escape for the child’s sake, so I drew up a plan, knowing I could run to the women of Nala. I fled and escaped to the open arms of my friends at Nala. They cared for me and did not judge me. They paid for my needed medical care. They loved me as family when some judged me for being pregnant with no husband around. One of our leaders is even pursuing legal ramifications against the abuse I endured. I have a baby now and find comfort that I am cared for and loved.