The Logo of The Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta - Purple Crest with Bishop's Mitre

DIGNITY Sewing Centre

On the most recent Pilgrimage to Cape Coast, Ghana, in April 2023, the partner diocese of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta, in West Africa, the Anglican Diocese of Cape Coast, their women’s ministry, which includes the very first three female priests ever in the history of Cape Coast and the women from the Diocese of Atlanta, explored together the celebrations and the challenges in Cape Coast.  What, if any, were the gaps?  We learned that lack of employment significantly impacted the lives and livelihoods of young women in the diocese of Cape Coast, including the families of clergy.  They were forced to leave there to find employment elsewhere in other cities distances away, and even then, it was not guaranteed.

We brainstormed a sustainable venture leveraging the skills and resources in Cape Coast to help bridge the gap and create new opportunities for young women and now young men to acquire new skills, engage in meaningful work, and enjoy the pride of an income to support their families.

In April, we brainstormed a way forward, and three Zoom calls later, with enthusiasm and energy on both sides of the Atlantic, we raised funds here in the US to purchase ten brand sewing machines and two industrial-sized knitting machines.  The women of Cape Coast identified those who would teach the skills, using authentic West African material and knowledge.  Together, we identified the products to be made and even created some original designs, and The Dignity (ENYIMNYAM) Sewing Centre was formed!  When asked to come up with a name for the ministry, they said we wanted to encourage the youth in Cape Coast to experience the dignity of work.

At the Diocesan Annual Council in Atlanta in November 2023, with much excitement from Cape Coast to Atlanta, we launched the first designs from the Dignity Sewing Centre.  Due to visa issues, the three ordained female priests and other representatives from Cape Coast, could not attend, but the fruits of this burgeoning ministry were launched and many were engaged and supported the ministry.

With beautiful Ghanaian names from Ohemaa, meaning ‘Beautiful queen who lives life to the fullest” ” to Obrempong, meaning Powerful King to Nana, an original design designated for chiefs – men and women- the clothes are infused with power, faith, and beauty, joy, and dignity.

The work continues.  Since the launch in the USA, we earned $5401.00 towards the justice enterprise.  All proceeds were transferred to the Dignity Sewing Centre.  We planned for a second shipment of clothing items to the USA in March 2024.  We have also learned that several young women are now interns at the Centre and they have planned an official opening on March 7, 2024. This partnership and burgeoning justice enterprise will not only provide a sense of purpose and dignity of work for young people in Cape Coast, but it allows for an exchange of culture and history between these two Dioceses. On both sides of the Atlantic, there will be knowledge building, authentic mutual respect for our cultures, and celebrating our common mission, as we co-create this powerful justice venture.