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July/August 2012

Web Exclusive: An Interview With a Global Mama

The greenest clothing companies use their online presence to tell the story of their supply chain with clarity and transparency. For example, Global Mamas, a Fair Trade producer of organic cotton clothing in Ghana, allows you to e-mail their seamstresses directly from their Web site. They and other members of the Fair Trade Federation have made a commitment to sourcing their overseas products fairly, verifying that their workers receive a living wage.

Our online editor, took advantage of this short, direct supply chain and e-mailed a list of interview questions to Vida Donkoh, a seamstress who specializes in baby bibs, babies' crawling shoes, and dog ties. These are her replies:

Vida specializes in bibs.


What is a typical work-week is like for you?  

Vida: I’m starting the sewing at 8AM, usually continuing through to 4:30PM. If I have many orders, sometimes I will work nights, 8PM to midnight.


Do you work alone or with others? 

Vida: I own my own shop, and I have two part-time workers. I like to work with them. 


What do you like about sewing? 

Global Mamas also offers women's and men's clothing.

Vida: (Smiling) I like the neatness about sewing and then I like to create nice things.


What are your favorite pieces to make?

Vida: I like to sew bibs and then shoes and dog ties and then babies' dresses. 


Do you make clothing for yourself, your family, and your friends as well as for Global Mamas? 

Vida: Yes, I make my baby her clothing. I also make my husband's pants, he is a driver for Tigo (telecommunications company).


What did you do before you started sewing for Global Mamas? 

Vida: About 4.5 years ago I was sewing for friends and family in Brafoyaw (small village east of Cape Coast).


Have you encouraged any of your friends to sew for Global Mamas?

Vida: Yes, I have encouraged my friends; in fact, Ruby has just joined Global Mamas. (Ruby is with Vida while she is answering interview questions. Ladies laugh.)


Ruby and Vida
Vida Donkoh (right) and her friend Ruby sew for Global Mamas.

What do you think about your creations traveling around the world to be used by others?

Vida: I’m happy. I like to think about people who wear my clothes in other parts.

What do you like to do when you are not at work?  

Vida: I’m resting, going to church, and singing in the choir at church. I also have fun with my baby.


What is your home life like and what activities do you enjoy besides sewing?

Vida: With money from Global Mamas, we just bought a new home. We are busy getting it ready.


What inspires you? 

Vida: My job makes me happy. My baby makes me happy. My family makes me happy. My friends make me happy.


Is there anything else you’d like to tell me about sewing about Global Mamas that I didn’t ask about?

Vida: I like to improve my quality. I like getting the work from Global Mamas. I feel happy.



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