International Women’s Day found its roots in the early 1900s and quickly spread worldwide, empowering women everywhere to fight for gender equality.
Comfort Akorfa Adjahoe Jennings lives in Ghana. As a young girl, she sold bread on the streets, but she now works as the founder and CEO of the Ele Agbe Company Ltd. exporting ornamental beads, original jewelry, and handmade home décor. She is also the president of the Ghana chapter of the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program, an initiative started by Hillary Clinton.
Ele Agbe Company Ltd. – Finding Light in Darkness
The name of her company translates to “God is Alive” and was chosen by Comfort as a statement of hope for herself and for all the women of Ghana to find light in the darkness.
In an interview with Comfort, we learned that her philosophy in life is to always try to hear and understand people’s stories, not to just assume that they are being taken care of by someone else… because there’s a good chance they feel alone in the world. She believes that encouragement goes a long way, and she speaks from experience. She knows what it’s like to have no other option than to sell bread on the streets, just like the children she still sees every day, selling bread.
As you continue to do what you are doing, doing your best, it attracts people. They want to know the secret behind how you are doing it, how it’s happening.
Comfort was able to turn her life around with the help of a Hungarian woman who just so happened to take a liking to her. The woman asked Comfort to teach bead-making at a local school, and ultimately helped her establish the confidence she needed to build her own business and prosper as an entrepreneur. All it took was that first opportunity to find her potential and allow it to thrive.
Comfort believes that every challenge in life is a stepping stone, pushing you to keep moving forward. And she believes that this message must be spread because people must know that they have the power to change their lives, and they are not alone in this world.
Moving Forward – Potential of Shea Butter
In 2004, Comfort realized the potential of natural shea butter: a resource plentiful in the local area that could be successful for export trade. By branching out to include shea butter products, she created a new avenue for rural women in her country to improve their product and be paid fairly for it. Giving back is extremely important to Comfort. She strives to seize every opportunity to mentor young women just as she herself was mentored.
Ten Thousand Villages began ordering shea butter and beaded products from Ele Agbe in 2008, and hopes to provide enough work for the group to purchase more equipment and expand their means of production, potentially having enough facilities to make shea soaps and creams marketable to local hotels.