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Brave Spotlight, Sseko Fellows, Travel, Uganda, Uncategorized, Women of Sseko

Fellows Spotlight: Alyssa Singh

The Sseko Fellows are a group of women across the U.S. who share our story, sell our products, and make a difference in their community and our world. We are so lucky to walk alongside these women in creating a brighter future, and want to take a moment to introduce you to one of them, Alyssa!

Alyssa Singh recently hit ADVENTURESS STATUS, twice! This means that twice last year, she sold over $10,000 worth of product in just one month! And that she has helped earn heaps of badges for her Sole Sister in Uganda to earn additional scholarship money for university. This ALSO means that she’ll be joining us on a FREE trip to Uganda in the spring! So, let’s introduce you to Alyssa…

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Intern Life, Uncategorized

What It Means to Be Brave

The Sseko Brave Manifesto that sits above my desk says to “do things that scare you”, to “practice radical generosity”, and that “like a girl is a compliment”. There is nothing in it that mentions bravery as a synonymous with brawn or power or toughness. As I’ve grown older, I have come to understand that each of us has to define bravery for ourselves.

155394_10151107462418226_1281579181_nWhen I was little, I wanted to be a spy. I wanted to use cool gadgets and chase down bad guys and save the world. I wanted to be strong and stealthy and wickedly clever. I thought it would be so cool to wear leather and be tough and unafraid of anything. I read books about how to look for clues and how to track fingerprints. I tumbled around in my backyard through my make-shift obstacle course, getting dirt under my nails and scraping up my knees. I was training myself to be tough, brave, and fearless.

Then a boy in my neighborhood told me girls couldn’t be spies. He said he’d be a better spy because he was bigger and stronger, and boys knew more about cars and guns. He said he would be a better spy because boys are tougher and braver than girls. I asked my mother if this was true and she told me that spies weren’t real anyway, at least not like in the movies. She told me that I shouldn’t want to do dangerous things; that I was too pretty, too soft, and too gentle to want those terrible things. This is when I started learning about the things girls couldn’t be. Continue Reading

Intern Life, Life at Sseko, Uncategorized

The Journey that Brought Me to Sseko

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.

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10 Tips To Get the Most out of Your internship- Sseko Intern Guide

Hi guys! I am Kristy McInnis, the style and content intern at Sseko for the summer! I wanted to give you guys 10 tips to rock your summer internship!       

Do research on the company

We know by now you have stalked the company’s social media and are back in 2011’s on Instagram, but what is most important is researching the company through their website. Take time to fill your brain with their mottos because for the next few months you will eat, sleep and breathe them. They are what the company was founded on, so take notes! It’s even more important to know the company’s story so you know that you are contributing correctly to their image. Sseko has a special story that they try to incorporate into every aspect of their company, and keeping that in the back of my head through all of the other moving parts keeps me humble.


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Brave Spotlight, Sseko Style, The Future is Bright, Uncategorized

Brave Spotlight: Angelia Trinidad of Passion Planner

She found herself in a post-graduate depression, and out of that depression a tool was born to remind us that our dreams should never be an afterthought. We’re so excited to introduce you to Angelia, founder and CEO of Passion Planner, the empowering planner designed to help everyone take action towards their goals every single day. We hope you’ll be as inspired by Angelia as we are!

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Intern Life, Life at Sseko, Uncategorized

One Sseko Intern’s Camping Debut

Be brave.

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.  

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Life at Sseko, Uganda, Uncategorized, Women of Sseko

Can I Visit the Workshop?

“I’m going to be in Uganda. Can I visit the workshop?”

Surprisingly, that is one of the most common questions emailed to our staff in the U.S., and we’re thrilled that so many of you are able to travel and visit us. If you’re going to be in Kampala and have time for a visit, please let us know!

Can I Visit the Workshop | Sseko Designs

We’d love to show you our workshop and introduce you to the ladies in person. A typical visit involves a tour of each of the stations to see how the sandals are made, and time to interact with the women and ask a few questions. We don’t have a huge selection of sandals available for purchase at the workshop, but you’re welcome to peruse what is available to find gifts for family and friends- or yourself.

To arrange your visit, email both Agnes ( and Ashley (, our procurement manager and operations director. We want to make sure your email doesn’t get lost in someone’s vacation plans or work travel, so sending an email to both ensures that we won’t miss you. One of them will provide you with phone contact information, directions, and suggestions about the best time to visit. Sometimes if the power goes out early in the morning, or we’ve just celebrated sending off a huge shipment, we’ll take the afternoon off- so make sure to check in with us first instead of just showing up. We’d hate to miss you! We usually conduct tours between 3-5pm when the day is winding down and the ladies are better able to step away from their work to answer questions and say hello.

We love visitors, and have been lucky to have so many of you stop by to see our work and give some encouragement to our team. Hope to see you soon!

Life at Sseko, Uganda, Uncategorized, Women of Sseko

Welcoming the Class of 2015

Each year, we pair the members of our new class of university bound girls with a veteran staff member for mentoring. The women who keep our workshop running year after year are incredible sources of informational, from practical things like budgeting advice to the deeper and more personal subjects that come up as the girls enter adulthood.

Welcoming the Class of 2015 | Sseko Designs

This January, instead of simply announcing the names of the mentors, we decided to have a little fun. Each girl found her name attached to a bright skein of yarn.

Welcoming the Class of 2015 | Sseko Designs

And each skein of yarn led them into a colorful tangled maze that wove through the entire warehouse. Under tables, around chairs, in and out of wire screening, through sewing machines, and even around Dorothy.

Each piece of yarn eventually led out the back door of the workshop, where a mentor waited at the end of a each different color to meet and offer a warm welcome to their mentee.

Welcoming the Class of 2015 | Sseko Designs

The girls had a blast weaving their way through the maze to find out who was waiting at the end. It’s also possible that their mentors had a little too much fun tangling up the yarn- Robinah mischievously wove hers through the bushes behind the workshop.

Welcoming the Class of 2015 | Sseko Designs

We’re so grateful for these women who volunteer their time and energies, even after a busy workday, to make sure our new university bound class is off to the best possible start in life. Their generosity and wisdom makes an enormous difference in the Sseko Uganda experience, for all of us.

Welcoming the Class of 2015 | Sseko Designs

Above: Aunt Jenifer and her mentee Emily

Below: Ritah finally makes it through the workshop with her yarn // Khamiat and Margaret meet at the end of the yarn.

Welcoming the Class of 2015 | Sseko Designs
Below: Eva and her mentee Santa untangle their yarn
Welcoming the Class of 2015 | Sseko Designs


Jenifer’s Day as a Journalist

Last week, three visitors from the George W. Bush Institute stopped by the Sseko workshop to film part of a video for the African First Ladies Summit in Washington, D.C.


A few women recorded interviews for the video, and others had the opportunity to sing a few songs, providing background music for the film. While the media team were busy interviewing the ladies, we asked Jenifer, one of our veteran employees and an aspiring journalist, to turn the tables and interview one of them. Here’s her story:


I am Jenifer. I joined Sseko in 2013 and I worked as production professional in design team (accessories). I joined Sseko because I wanted to earn a living and support my family. I came from Northern Uganda in the district of Kitgum where my parents are from.

It was a wonderful day that we received visitors from the U.S. to Uganda from the George W. Bush Institute. There are only few places they visited, one was Sseko Designs. They were able to meet some of the individuals, where they did the introductions and their main aim of their visit [a video]. Among others they were able to meet with me because I would also like to become a journalist with time. I was able to meet with Rachel, among the people who came.

Adoch Jenifer: What’s your name?

Rachel Tatro: My name is Rachel Tatro, and I am a communications manager at the George W. Bush Institute.

AJ: How long has this organization of yours been?

RT: We started the Institute in 2009 after President Bush left office, and we focus on several areas and one of those areas is women’s health and global empowerment for women.

AJ: Who was the founder?

RT: George W. Bush.

AJ: He founded and then he left [office] after, or then he founded when he was not the president?

RT: He founded the institute after he left the presidency.

AJ: So basically I ask you, Rachel, what work do you do in this organization?

RT: So I work for our external affairs team, which means that I do marketing and communications for the Bush Institute. And that includes all of our programs. We have six areas of engagement, we focus on education reform in the United States, we focus on economic growth in the United States, and we focus on a military service initiative where we help veterans and wounded service members. We have a women’s initiative, and then we have a global health initiative.

AJ: So now, as in, your organization, have you extended in Africa, or your main business is in U.S.?

RT: Our women’s initiative and our global health programs are mainly based in Africa and a little bit in the Middle East. We have a women’s initiative fellowship where we brought two classes of fellows from Egypt the past two years, and then we had a class of Tunisian women this past year who came over to the U.S. and started a training program, and then they went back to their countries to implement it into their business plans. We also have the First Ladies Initiative, which mainly focuses on African first ladies and how they can influence and empower women in their country. And then we also have our global health program, which focuses on cervical cancer screening, treatment, and prevention in Africa. And we’re in- right now we’re in three countries, for that program, it’s called Pink Ribbon, Red Ribbon, and we’re in Zambia, Tanzania, and Ethiopia.

AJ: Now like, from U.S., the main office, how many workers are there?

RT: We’re based in Dallas, Texas, and we have about 85 employees.

AJ: So those people, do you send them out, like you have sent people to Uganda, or they are mainly just in the office there?

RT: We are mainly in Dallas. That’s- all of our full-time staff is based in Dallas, but we all travel quite a bit; to Africa and to other U.S. cities, we go to New York and Washington, D.C.

AJ: You as Rachel, what advantage have you taken out of this company?

RT: Well, this job has been really a blessing and it has allowed me to learn so much and be able to do so much, like come here to Uganda, that I would have never been able to do.

AJ: So was it your first time to come in Uganda?

RT: Yes. This was my first time to Uganda.

AJ: I think you’ve enjoyed?

RT: I have. It’s beautiful here. I love it.

AJ: What good thing have you seen of Uganda? Because you know, sometimes people in U.S. they think that Africa is still remote and so, you as Rachel, you’ve taken a chance to come here. What good thing have you got, and how much have you taken?

RT: So, aside from the fact that everyone we’ve met in Uganda has been so kind and warm to us, and welcomed us with open arms, aside from that- You know, I think that you’re right. A lot of Americans maybe see- when they think of Africa, they maybe see a rural woman in a village. They think about women living very traditional, rural lifestyles. But there’s also cities, and there’s women who live and work in cities just like you all do. So I think that that’s- it’s been really incredible for me to see…the other side of it.

AJ: So now, how did you learn about Sseko, and why are you in Sseko here?

RT: So we learned about Sseko- our women’s initiative director, Charity Wallace, was here two or three weeks ago, and she visited Sseko. And she learned about the program, and how- especially in Uganda- how they employ women and help women get jobs. So they came to visit, and they were impressed by it, and we are making a film for the African First Ladies Summit, that is in Washington, D.C., and it is hosted by Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Obama, and many of the African First Ladies are coming to that. We have some films we will be showing during the summit, and this will be part of the film.

AJ: So now, like, in Uganda, how many organizations are you going to visit, or you have just selected Sseko?

RT: So we visited several. We did an interview with Mrs. Museveni, the First Lady.

AJ: Janet?

RT: Yes. Janet Museveni, we did an interview with her on Monday. And we visited with beneficiaries from Opportunity Bank, Heifer [International] and today, we’re going to [another] site, it’s a children’s village, an orphanage. We’re going there later today, and then we leave tomorrow.

AJ: Tomorrow you’re going back to U.S.?

RT: It’s unclear. We’re- I’m not sure if I’m going back to the U.S., or…

AJ: Because you move as a group. You’re moving as a group, isn’t it?

RT: Yes. So I will probably go back to the U.S. tomorrow, or go to Tanzania. We’re still waiting to hear from the Tanzanian groups, but the filmmakers, they will probably go work for a little while. They’ll go somewhere close by, maybe Dubai or something like that, and then they’ll come back because we have appointments in Zambia and Namibia in about a week and a half, so it doesn’t make any sense for them to fly all the way back and then come back.

AJ: Also, you’ve taken your time to see Sseko. What do you think you have learned from Sseko?

RT: I have learned that there are some very incredibly hard-working and fun women here at Sseko, with beautiful voices.

AJ: Including mine?

RT: Yes. Including yours.

AJ: Thank you.

RT: So yes. It’s been a real privilege to be here and meet you all, and thank you for letting us take over your workshop for a day.

AJ: So thank you very much.

RT: Thank you!

In addition to the interview, I was also in the videos of the gospel music with the CLA girls [University Bound] from Cornerstone and other co-workers.

In conclusion Sseko is a big company that deals in making shoes for the ladies and mostly employs ladies to operate the machines. And I think that’s the major reasons why the visitors came to see.