Just Shea has been working with the women Shea harvesters in Gushie for the last 3 years. Our initial program provided safety gear--boots, coats and gloves--to the harvesters to protect against the ubiquitous snakes. But we always dreamed of constructing a silo, a cooperative barn where the women could store their shea nut crop, thereby regularizing the supply chain. This allows them to sell for a longer period and capitalize on higher market prices later in the season.
So we set out to raise the money to raise the roof on a new collective building. We have super smart dedicated folks on the ground in Ghana and, in February, our Project Manager started the construction based on the volunteer design efforts of our advisors. When Danielle and Wicki arrived on March 19th the structure was up and just need a roof, floor, windows, plaster, and a ribbon to cut to open the doors.
We scouted cement in the markets, toted water and stones and painted with the bevy of dedicated colorfully swathed Ghanaian women. The conditions were hot, dusty and oh so joyful. We drove the last nail in with 15 minutes to spare as the elders, chiefs, harvesters and children marched to the new blue metal door of the silo. We all blessed the building, snipped the ribbon, and it was official...the Gushie Women's Shea Nut Collective is open for business.
Thanks to all of you.
Now don't think we are done, because we still need to construct a drying area, storage shelves and repay some loans. So if our story, if these resilient, hard-working women’s story moves you, please donate another dollop to their cause. Or send this along to friends who might toss in with us.
"Tipagaya" in Dagbani means "We Appreciate" and we do, the women of Gushie do, and all of your names are there on the building to show you.
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