If you happen to find yourself in Kampala, Uganda, make your way to the Old Taxi Park. From there, grab a taxi van to Matuga. Jump off at the end of the line, and hop on a boda boda to the Cornerstone Leadership Academy. After a (bumpy) ride along a dirt road, you will find yourself in the company of some of the most intelligent and committed young women in Uganda.
These women are graduates of the Cornerstone Leadership Academy and employees of Sseko Designs.
Sseko \say-ko\ Designs was created to help these bright young women continue their education. The Ugandan school system is designed with a nine month gap between secondary school and university. These nine months are intended to allow time for students to earn money for tuition before continuing on to university. However, in an impoverished and male dominated society, many of these young women struggle to find fair work during this time.
Sseko Designs hires recent secondary school graduates for this nine month period to live and work together, while earning money that will go directly towards their university education. These women will not make sandals forever. They will go on to be doctors, lawyers, politicians, writers and teachers that will bring change and unification to a country divided and ravished by a 22 year-long war.
Sseko Designs is a not-just-for-profit enterprise that recognizes the power of business and responsible consumerism to support sustainable economic development, which in turn affects a country's educational, justice, and health care systems. The goal of Sseko Designs is two-fold: provide university tuition for these promising young women through a sustainable monthly income, while also contributing to the overall economic development of Uganda.
Although consumerism makes many empty promises, responsible and proactive consumerism has the ability to change lives. Like the lives of Mercy, Mary and Rebbecca.
Every sandal has a story. This story has only just begun, but with your help, it will be a story of hope, success and change.