We started with research on disability in Ghana.
Persons with disabilities living in Ghana often experience stigma and inaccessibility that denies them economic opportunity and leads to social exclusion.
Despite the passage of a disability rights act in 2006 and efforts to increase awareness about disability, the lack of accessible transport, high unemployment rate in the general population, and lingering social and spiritual attitudes about disability continue to pose barriers to the inclusion of persons with disabilities and families with children with different abilities in Ghana and other developing countries in West Africa.
We took action through project partnerships.
Our founder first visited Ghana in 2013 and returned in 2014 to research ways to support advocates with disabilities and existing grassroots change-makers.
We subsequently partnered with the Disability Needs Foundation to support a disability awareness project in schools and undertake the Portraits of Ability photo-interview series. We then supported The Epicentre in the Include-Play-Learn project to fund scholarships for kids with developmental disabilities locally.
Collectively, we referred to our work via these project partnerships as the Ghana Strong Initiative.
We made friends and became family.
Matilda is a seamstress, a business woman, and the loving mother of Ruby, a young woman living with a developmental disability in Ghana.
In 2015, during a year spent in Ghana for university, our founder ate dinner with Matilda's family once every week. We became close friends, and our shared love and respect for one another made us feel like family.
Matilda's determination to overcome the barriers she faced as a mother with a child with a disability also convinced us that there would be significant power in assisting women like Matilda with expanding their businesses to advance social change.
We sought sustainability through innovation.
Through our project work, we came to believe that supporting grassroots change-makers in Ghana can be highly impactful but that a sustainable funding mechanism would be needed to create lasting change for individuals and across systems.
In 2015 and 2016, we began competing in social enterprise competitions for business pitches that would employ persons with disabilities in Ghana and generate revenue to fund our non-profit project work.
One of our pitches involved employing seamstresses like Matilda to produce tie-dye fashion.
We piloted and expanded MFC Tie-Dye.
In June 2016, after completing university, our founder returned to Ghana to live with Matilda and her family, prototype tie-dye fashion, and launch a company.
We spent the next year expanding Matilda's workshop, developing environmentally sustainable processes, and scaling our impact. Originally, a pilot project known as Matilda Flow Co., we became a 501c3 non-profit corporation called MFC Tie-Dye Inc. in May 2017.
You can continue to follow our progress and story via our Rise with Us impact reports published monthly.
We are whole people who care about whole systems.
Board of Directors:
Our directors are unpaid volunteers.
Our advisors are unpaid volunteers.
Advisor on Persons with Disabilities
Advisor on Children with Special Needs