Sseko Designs started in Uganda with four women under a mango tree making leather sandals with interchangeable straps. Mary, Mercy, Rebecca and myself. We were impossibly naive and hopeful about the future and the impact that a single girl and pair of sandals could make in her community and our world.
Life at Sseko
Meet Genavieve! A Sseko Fellow that’s been around since the beginning, Genavieve mentors a team of nearly 30 Sseko Fellows located all across the US. She’s a total BOSS BABE and we love having her as one of our founding Fellows! Get to know her!
January is one of our favorite months here at Sseko! We get to kick off the year by introducing you to a new team of university bound women who will work with us for 9 months while they earn an income for university and head off to school in the fall. This year we’ve welcomed 15 bright new faces into the Sseko workshop. This is the largest group we’ve ever had! We are so excited to introduce you to the Class of 2017!
Every great journey begins with a small step.
That’s one of the tenants of the Sseko Manifesto for so many reasons! We truly believe that taking small steps is necessary to making any great journey possible. Since the beginning of Sseko, it’s been our dream to be in our own workshop in Kampala and for that workshop to be managed 100% by a Ugandan staff. We’ve been taking small steps to making this possible for years, and we’re so excited to share that (this year!) both of these dreams have come true!
Very early on in my childhood I had a passion to help people. From holding a neighborhood kid’s hand when they fell off their bike, to giving away all my earned chore money to homeless people as I passed by them on the streets of downtown portland; I was a full blown humanitarian from the womb. Figuring out how my profession or future endeavors could envelope a meaningful and compassionate lifestyle was, and continues to be, an unsolved journey. On top of that, my inability to go about daily life without an established plan was the reason why my destiny was predetermined at the age of 10. All my actions became calculated in order to follow my path of being a doctor. Though I loved being artistic and expressing myself through art and fashion, working in medicine anticipated a more comfortable lifestyle that a creative career in either fashion, design or art could not provide. Being a doctor aided people the way I thought was only possible, it had a direct tangible impact on people. Plus Dr. Dempsey had a pretty nice ring to it… My path was then set. Dr. Dempsey it would be.
This year, Sseko is turning 7 and we have a lot of amazing things to celebrate! Seven years ago, Sseko began as a way to generate income for talented young women to continue on to university. To date, we employ 50 women in Uganda and have enabled 71 incredible girls to continue on to University.
There is no doubt that this year has been one of the best ones in Sseko’s history. Today, we are celebrating by looking back on 7 highlights from the past year.
Say yes to adventure.
Do things that scare you.
The walls in the chic urban office that is home to Sseko Designs are plastered with these phrases, as a constant reminder of this company’s roots. Really, the office is a manifestation of what can happen if you live by these laws: if you do say yes to adventure, if you do things that scare you…which makes me think about the things that scare me.