Africana women (meaning Black women of Africa and the Diaspora) are the first teachers of their children and in many cases the primary breadwinner, the community advocate, and a creative force within the family. The women Ujamaa Collective serves and impacts range from teenagers to grandmothers. It is our goal to harness these qualities to support women to create agency within their own lives by enhancing their innate skills and teaching them new proficiency to help them in determining where they want to go.
Particularly, our goal is to help Africana women develop self-sufficiency through creative entrepreneurship and cooperation while utilizing fair trade principles. Whether as makers or manufacturers, the spaces we create (i.e. our bourtique, farm, marketplace and manufacturing hub) are places where women can create, market and sell their wares and share expertise with our neighbors in a healthy and vibrant environment. As we are headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, recently named the nation’s most livable city, we have much work to do. Statistically, the economic status of Pittsburgh’s Africana woman population is fighting a losing battle. Similar to our peers across the Atlantic, Black women in Pittsburgh are experiencing real socioeconomic hurdles.
Just as the originator’s of the fair trade movement were stirred to open up economic channels after witnessing the hard work and creative endeavors of our international brothers and sisters and seeing them not receive their fair share, Ujamaa was formed out of that same spirit. Fair Trade is just as relevant in impacting poverty in the United States as it is across the waters in foreign countries. A local woman learning how to help herself helps her children and her entire family. Multiple women working together transforms the community. Ujamaa Collective is doing its best to combine cultural ethics with cooperative business practices to help lift as we climb.
Currently, Ujamaa Collective’s primary causes focus on broadening the artisan efforts for Africana women makers of bodycare products through our WholeBodyCare Manufacturing Hub. Read more about this initiative here.
Ujamaa also plans to continue it’s work exposing young women to entrepreneurship. We are committed to investing in the next generation of Black women artists and entrepreneurs through The Aya Duafe Arts and Entrepreneurship program. This project-based summer camp blends STEAM and cooperative economics with hands-on career exploration, contextualized by an Africana leadership and cultural framework. Read more about our summer camp here.
Through our longtime partner, Amizade Global Service-Learning, Ujamaa is honored to be one of three organizations that is a part of the Hill District Global Education Coalition, providing international learning trips to urban teenagers. This year, we have the privilege and responsibility to mentor 10 young women through a pre-immersion, immersion and post-immersion process related to a 10 day educational program in Ghana, West Africa. Read more about our “Year of Return” here.
Learn more about how Ujamaa is postively affecting outcomes both in our region and abroad by contacting us.