By: Fred Yaw Sarpong
Asana Ismail, a 41 year old single fashion designer from Assana Fashions from Wa in the Upper West Region. She produces mainly bubu, ‘smocks’, shirts, local bags, arts and other African wears.
She started her work barely 15 years. Since she started the business she has been able to put things together and that has made her set up an NGO to assist other young ones, especially the girls.
‘You know at the North we are poor and because of that majority of the young people cannot afford money to equip themselves. Even when they complete school most of them are not able to continue because of finances. Most of them used to run away and come to Accra and other big cities in the country to come and do these carrier businesses,’ said Asana.
So Asana decided to gathered them and train them, in order to equip them for the future.
Asana started the business while she was in Accra some few years back. She decided to go home and establish it and have the youth trained.
Initially business was not good for Assana Fashion until she join NBSSI which she believes has helped her a lot. NBSSI found the potential in Asana and her fashion group and decided to sponsor her to just ended Trade Fair in Accra.
Because of her potential and the good business she managed, she has been the sole representative from Upper West region to several Trade Fairs held in Accra.
Apart from Trade Fairs, she has also represent Ghana in some exhibitions in London, South Africa, Switzerland, Burkina Faso and other countries, through Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Tourism and National Commission on Culture.
‘The challenge is the money. Now a day we don’t have money in the system,’ she added. Despite lack of money at times to cushion her business, she thanked NBSSI and MASLOC for supporting her. ‘Last year MASLOC gave me GHc4,000 loan for my business and I have finish paying the loan,’ said Asana.
Her dream is to open a big shop at Wa to accommodate a lot of the youth. ‘Wa District Assembly has given me a big place and I need money to operate it and train the street children and those in orphanages in the area,’ she added.
ABOUT ASSANA SUNGUOLIBLIHI
The NGO name is Assana Sunguolibiihi. The meaning of the NGO is Assana assisting the youth to grown. She started the NGO in 2011 to train and equip poor and needy female teenagers with skills and knowledge in fashion and design through dress making.
She started this NGO with four orphans whom have lost parents alongside her existing workforce. This project is further targeted at more orphans and street-homeless female teenagers who have drop out from school due to the inability of their parents or guardian to pay their school fees and other financial obligations.
The activities of this NGO have save some poor and needy female teenagers from many social vices and social problems that are detrimental to their livelihood such as prostitution, armed robbery, smoking and drinking of marijuana and poisonous alcohols, teenage pregnancies and early marriage.
‘This is because poor and needy female teenagers are highly vulnerable and prove to these social vices and problems since they do not have any choice and alternative source to livelihood, they end up resorting to such acts for their survival,’ said the CEO of Assana Sunguolibiihi.
Her objective is to re-instill hope and confidence among poor and needy female teenagers who thought they could not make it in life by training them in fashion and designs in dress making to enable them establish their own businesses in the future.
Also is to offer free conducive and well equipped environment stock with the appropriate and modern equipment to facilitate the fast learning and understanding of the skills and knowledge in dress making among needy and poor teenagers in Upper West region.
She intend to empower poor and deprive female teenagers in enterprise development in dress making; and to also elevate all female teenagers by making them self reliant.
Through her NGO she has been able to train more of the youth, and currently has about 10 under training who will act as trainers to some of the youth.