Total loan: $10,000


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Portland, OR, United States / Arts

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A loan helped fund women artisans to purchase materials, produce crafts and wages and enable sales in the U.S. market.

Haoua's story

I was born in Segou, Mali from 13 children. Both my grandparents were businessmen, one in textile and the other in commodities. I could observe them counting money after market day, from that on, I decided to own my own business. After sending my kids to college, I took a training class at the DC Women Business Center (WBC) and opened my art gallery. It was inspiring! I I won the Verizon Entrepreneurial award by the WBC. For 15 years of crafts development with African women artisans I have served low-income artisans and promoted opportunities to create income-generating solutions through entrepreneurship. I believe that a small contribution to the life of others less fortunate can lead me to my own life fulfillment. My desire is to expand, reach out to the U.S. tradeshow buyers while training artisans in Africa and prepare them to produce quality export-ready crafts for the U.S. market. Completing my MBA program with focus in sustainable business at Marylhurst University complement these goals. Exposed to USAID-funded projects as a Volunteer Expert in Africa for economic and sustainable development, I was inspired by the talent of many women artisans who continue their ancestral traditions despite hardships. From 2004-2018 I have conducted a series of programs in marketing and product development in Ghana, Benin, Lesotho, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, South Africa and soon in Mali. In 2012 I spent in Sri Lanka assisting war-affected women weavers to develop new handloom products for U.S. export. As a result, I received the following awards for my civic participation. 2012 Volunteer for Economic Growth Alliance’s Award for Program Service 2004 The President’s Volunteer Service Award by the USA Freedom Corps 2003 Certificate of Appreciation by the Smithsonian Folk Life Institute 2002 Verizon Capital of Women’s Entrepreneurial Award - DC Women Business Center