Meet the Sseko Scholars Class of 2020!

We are so thrilled to introduce to you the bright, young women in the Sseko Scholars Class of 2020! Sseko Scholars program Sseko Designs started in Uganda 10 years ago with a dream to use business to create community and opportunity for the brightest women in east Africa to continue their education and become leaders in their communities. Sseko's impact is not in charity work, but rather in giving great jobs and scholarships to women who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend university. Every year, some of the most academically gifted young [...]

By |2020-03-17T05:13:33+00:00March 26th, 2020|Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Susan’s Story

I met Susan when we were both young women embarking on BIG adventures. I was in the early years of starting and launching Sseko and Susan was graduating from high school with big dreams about university and becoming a leader in her community. I distinctly remember sitting with her on the sandal production line while she diligently learned the manufacturing process while somehow managing to ask great questions and laugh loudly as she worked. Susan’s family moved to Uganda as Rwandan refugees during the Rwandan genocide. Although Susan’s story involves trauma and heartache, when I met Susan, I immediately [...]

By |2019-12-02T20:50:17+00:00December 2nd, 2019|Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Meet Sharon: Sseko Seamstress

Sharon is the leader of our ribbon sandal strap team and a talented seamstress. She is a quick-learner, diligent with all the work she’s given. She’s the type of person who makes your spirit feel happy from talking to her, and at the end of each interaction, you just want to hug her. Sharon is incredibly loving and generous to her family and friends and is a joy to have around. She’s said that “keeping quiet makes me sick,” so if you ever need a good chat, Sharon is your girl. She’s married and she and her husband just welcomed [...]

By |2018-08-08T23:29:01+00:00August 8th, 2018|Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

A Ugandan Inspired Summer Salad + An Inspiring Note from the Chef

Tara Thomas of Her Garden Kitchen is a talented chef in Portland, Oregon and she modeled for our Summer Capsule Collection! Today, we’re so excited to share some of Tara’s insights with you in addition to an amazing summer salad recipe that she created with inspiration from common Ugandan ingredients.  […]

By |2018-05-15T20:31:51+00:00May 15th, 2018|The Ugandan Cookbook, Uganda|0 Comments

Meet Gift!

Meet Gift! Gift is one of the 15 University bound team members with us for the next 9 months. We love her commitment to justice and advocacy. Get to know her and become part of the team that sends her off to University with an additional scholarship! […]

By |2017-02-10T07:30:14+00:00February 10th, 2017|Uganda, Uncategorized, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Introducing the class of 2017!

January is one of our favorite months here at Sseko! We get to kick off the year by introducing you to a new team of university bound women who will work with us for 9 months while they earn an income for university and head off to school in the fall. This year we’ve welcomed 15 bright new faces into the Sseko workshop. This is the largest group we’ve ever had! We are so excited to introduce you to the Class of 2017! […]

By |2017-01-16T20:49:28+00:00January 16th, 2017|Life at Sseko, Uganda, Uncategorized, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Fellows Spotlight: Alyssa Singh

The Sseko Fellows are a group of women across the U.S. who share our story, sell our products, and make a difference in their community and our world. We are so lucky to walk alongside these women in creating a brighter future, and want to take a moment to introduce you to one of them, Alyssa! Alyssa Singh recently hit ADVENTURESS STATUS, twice! This means that twice last year, she sold over $10,000 worth of product in just one month! And that she has helped earn heaps of badges for her Sole Sister in Uganda to earn additional scholarship money for [...]

Design Your Dream Sandals // Team Sseko

Here at Sseko HQ, we have been gushing over all of the dream sandal possibilities, and our awesome team in Uganda is doing the same. With one week left for you to take advantage of the opportunity to design your own custom sandals through our Kickstarter, we decided we would let you take a little peek into the lives of some of our employees, and see some of the dream sandals they thought up! Adrienne: Adrienne is our community manager at Sseko HQ, right in the heart of Portland. Here is her empowering design! "My dream sandal is a sandal with [...]

By |2016-11-02T16:22:04+00:00November 2nd, 2016|Sseko Style, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Introducing the Sophia Bush Slide Sandal

We are excited to introduce you to our latest and greatest sandal: the Silver & Espresso Crossover Slide designed by our friend & actress Sophia Bush! This Spring, we’ve introduced four brand-new additions to our sandal line, but the Crossover Slide is the most exciting for our team because it’s our first sandal to require a shoe last in the assembly process! We’ll give you a behind-the-scenes peak at how the sandal came to be, from Sophia’s design to the final production… […]

By |2016-02-22T06:00:11+00:00February 22nd, 2016|How It's Made, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Ethically Sourced Leather Shoes + Bags

We’re often asked where our leather is sourced from, and we are proud to say that almost all of it comes from Ethiopia and Kenya! We work hard to source as many of our materials as possible (from beads to rubber!) in the East African region with the aim of supporting the local economy and community. The tanneries we work with mostly use hides from the animals of small family farmers and growing local businesses. Leather & Livestock in East Africa […]

By |2019-05-17T16:19:03+00:00January 6th, 2016|Ethiopia, How It's Made, Uganda|1 Comment

How It’s Made: The Brave Bracelet

Though the brass bangles have been a Sseko staple for awhile now, we’re incredibly excited to announce our first major foray into the world of jewelry. The Brave Bracelet is entirely handmade in Uganda, using hammered brass wire, colorful beads, and a whole lot of talent. First, brass wire is cut to size, hammered, and then shaped into a dainty geometric diamond. Here, Josephine taps the wires to make sure the diamond shape is laying flat. […]

By |2015-11-12T06:09:45+00:00November 12th, 2015|How It's Made, Uganda|0 Comments

Sophia Bush Introduces our Travel Collection

We couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with Sophia Bush to introduce you to our new Travel Collection! This summer, we had the opportunity to host this actress and activist at the Sseko workshop in Uganda. A long-time advocate of both educational rights for girls and conscious consumerism, we knew from the get-go that Sophia was a Sseko-spirit. With a style that is eclectic and impossibly chic, she embodies everything we envisioned when we designed this newest collection: wanderlust, class, fearlessness…and as always, a little bit of Sseko sass! Here’s a peek behind-the-scenes at the design of our newest collection [...]

By |2015-10-07T00:56:34+00:00October 7th, 2015|Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

A Brave Adventure: Josephine’s Uganda Boat Trip

This fall, as we ask you to seek the unfamiliar, it’s only fair that we ask the same of ourselves, both in the U.S. and in Uganda. For Josephine, this meant overcoming her fear of the water in exchange for an exhilarating new experience: a Uganda boat trip on Lake Victoria! Despite the fact that Uganda is a land full of water, from the mighty Nile to Lake Victoria to the smooth, calm pools of mountain craters- most Ugandans don’t know how to swim. Two years ago, when Josephine heard of a few American visitors spending the day touring Lake Victoria [...]

By |2015-09-27T07:54:25+00:00September 27th, 2015|Life at Sseko, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

A Sseko Graduation Party

Time for another Sseko Graduation celebration! This year’s class of THIRTEEN University-Bound ladies graduated last week, and though we’re always excited about their futures, we’re definitely sad to see them go. These ladies jumped into a busy work schedule on their very first day and haven’t slowed down since, finishing up a last minute batch of samples before sitting down for an afternoon of speeches, cake, and celebration. […]

By |2015-08-07T00:51:16+00:00August 7th, 2015|Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

New Mothers at Sseko

In March, we had the opportunity to meet not one but two new Sseko babies! Georgia and Phoebe gave birth to their first children recently, and brought them both in for a visit. Phoebe is one of our incredibly talented tailors. She and her husband named their son Israel. She is thrilled and very proud to be a mother. Phoebe loves to watch her son when he is playing and laughing, throwing his arms and legs into the air in excitement. She hopes that Israel will grow up to be a preacher, no matter what he decides to study. Our [...]

By |2015-04-20T07:40:05+00:00April 20th, 2015|Life at Sseko, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Favorite Jobs

This past year at the Sseko workshop, things have been busy with the introduction of the new t-strap sandals and a lot of growth. Instead of colorful ribbon straps, these sandals come with carefully hand-beaded accessories, and a whole lot more steps in assembly. This has dramatically changed the way we work, and most days we’re less focused on individual teams and more on Sseko as a whole. The women have learned to be flexible because some days our talented seamstresses find themselves assembling leather sandal straps, or our most expert beaders head over to the other side of the [...]

By |2015-03-19T16:17:28+00:00March 19th, 2015|How It's Made, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Can I Visit the Workshop?

"I'm going to be in Uganda. Can I visit the workshop?" Surprisingly, that is one of the most common questions emailed to our staff in the U.S., and we're thrilled that so many of you are able to travel and visit us. If you're going to be in Kampala and have time for a visit, please let us know! We'd love to show you our workshop and introduce you to the ladies in person. A typical visit involves a tour of each of the stations to see how the sandals are made, and time to interact with the women and [...]

By |2015-02-23T22:18:30+00:00February 23rd, 2015|Life at Sseko, Uganda, Uncategorized, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Behind the Scenes: the Making of a Caramel T-Strap

We’re excited to finally introduce the new caramel t-strap sandals. We’ve been testing the wear of the leather here in Uganda for almost a year now, and this new color is a clear favorite among our staff. The team of women in our Uganda workshop are starting the year off as t-strap making experts, but Joyce remembers last year, when things weren’t so easy. She recalls how much they struggled with figuring out which direction the ankle straps should point, but now, putting the ankle straps into the sandals is a piece of cake. There are a lot of steps [...]

By |2015-02-12T22:35:33+00:00February 12th, 2015|How It's Made, Uganda|0 Comments

Welcoming the Class of 2015

Each year, we pair the members of our new class of university bound girls with a veteran staff member for mentoring. The women who keep our workshop running year after year are incredible sources of informational, from practical things like budgeting advice to the deeper and more personal subjects that come up as the girls enter adulthood. This January, instead of simply announcing the names of the mentors, we decided to have a little fun. Each girl found her name attached to a bright skein of yarn. And each skein of yarn led them into a colorful tangled maze that [...]

By |2015-01-27T19:04:55+00:00January 27th, 2015|Life at Sseko, Uganda, Uncategorized, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Graduate Update: Sophia

Sofia set herself apart from her Sseko class very early on, proving herself to be a young woman with bold and articulate ideas, and after just one semester at Kyambogo University- she's done it again. At the beginning of the semester, when class leaders were being elected, a group of young men tried to suggest to everyone that the voting could happen without hearing from any of the candidates. Sofia wasn't satisfied with judging leaders on charm alone, and voiced her opinion- that before voting happened, they should, at the very least, hear a speech from the hopeful candidates. Sofia [...]

By |2015-01-04T10:48:43+00:00January 4th, 2015|Life at Sseko, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Graduate Update: Loy

After walk through the neighborhood led to quick photoshoot a few weeks ago, Loy flipped through the pictures on the camera screen, looking at herself as she grinned and posed dramatically on film. "They're great!" she says. "I like all of them." We're not sure where this new Loy came from, a bubbling and confident woman who smiles widely in photos, but we can only hope to have played a small part in it. The serious faced camera-shy girl is nowhere to be seen, these days. Loy is just finishing up her first semester at Kyambogo University, where she studies [...]

By |2014-12-27T08:45:44+00:00December 27th, 2014|Life at Sseko, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Graduate Update: Sharon

Sharon attends Kyambogo University, where she rooms with Sofia and Loy. A few weeks ago, over a meal of roasted pork skewers and sodas, we all sat down together to catch up and talk about the ups and downs of college life. Sharon is quick to cite money- it's expensive to pay for books, housing, food, and all of the other experiences that come from living on her own. Her favorite part, though, is the freedom. Her days are her own, and she truly enjoys choosing how to spend her time. Freedom, though, is not without it's obligations. Most college [...]

By |2014-12-12T00:39:24+00:00December 12th, 2014|Life at Sseko, Uganda, Women of Sseko|1 Comment

Graduate Update: Stella

After just a few weeks, Stella is already quite at home on the campus of Kisubi Brothers University, where she and Hadijja have both earned full-ride scholarships. A quiet campus near Lake Victoria, the students have access to the beautiful grounds of the school, as well as a private beach. […]

By |2014-12-02T17:20:00+00:00December 2nd, 2014|Life at Sseko, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Sharon’s Daughter

“I’m a mother now!” Those were Sharon’s first words when she brought her new daughter, Given Blessing, to visit her Sseko co-workers last week. Sharon always glows with a certain joy, but her face is definitely a little brighter now, especially when she speaks of her baby. […]

By |2014-11-03T16:52:36+00:00November 3rd, 2014|Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Graduate Update: Hadijja

Last week, we visited Kisubi Brothers University to catch up with Hadijja. It’s only been a few weeks since classes started, but she’s already loving her new environment. She explains that it’s so calm and quiet- she can really focus on her studies. Hadijja is planning to be a teacher in math and physics, and since those are also her favorite subjects, she’s loving her classes. […]

By |2014-10-22T23:15:38+00:00October 22nd, 2014|Life at Sseko, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

The Making of the Giving Key Sandal

We recently launched a new T-strap sandal in collaboration with The Giving Keys, and it’s something we at Team Sseko are super excited about. The Giving Keys is an LA-based organization that employs those transitioning out of homelessness to make jewelry out of repurposed keys that get sold and shared around the world. Our T-Strap + their Giving Key on our interchangeable accent is a powerful combination. From the stamping of the keys with the word ‘DREAM’ to the hand-stitched beading, these sandals require supreme craftsmanship…and we could not be more thankful to the women (and men, in this case!) [...]

By |2014-06-16T23:30:43+00:00June 16th, 2014|How It's Made, Uganda|0 Comments

Making Jewelry with the Team Leaders

When the team leaders and office staff get together, it's usually for a meeting to plan out a busy Sseko workweek. Recently, though, we decided to get together on the weekend for a day of DIY fun: necklaces, earrings, and watermelon-pineapple smoothies. The ladies spent the afternoon digging through piles of beads to find their favorite shapes and colors, and with barely a word of instruction, they grabbed pliers and earwires and went to town! Everyone went home with a pile of new jewelry, but here are a few of the favorites. We have quite a creative staff! Agnes: Sylvia: [...]

By |2014-06-13T06:00:08+00:00June 13th, 2014|Life at Sseko, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Morning Tea at Sseko

The moment the door to the Sseko workshop opens each morning, there is a flurry of activity as everyone rises from their seats on the front stoop and rushes into the break room to set the water boiling for tea. While the kettles bubble away, Matilda fills the mugs with a sprinkle of loose leaf tea- and a heaping spoonful of sugar. Container lids pop and plastic bags rustle, and the air is filled with scent of baked, fried and steaming foods, nearly a different dish for every woman in the room. […]

By |2014-06-06T06:00:10+00:00June 6th, 2014|Life at Sseko, The Ugandan Cookbook, Uganda|0 Comments

A Note on Women’s Rights in Uganda

Uganda is a male dominated society, and although social and cultural norms have made great strides for women’s rights, the country is still transitioning into a society with equal rights for all. Sseko exists to empower women in Uganda, by providing them with jobs, and teaching them to be confident in themselves as capable women and members of society. In Ugandan history, and still prevalent in some rural areas today, the belief was widespread that men are superior to women and are entitled to exercise their power over them. The woman’s job is to stay at home, cooking, cleaning, looking [...]

By |2014-04-22T07:00:19+00:00April 22nd, 2014|Life at Sseko, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Sseko Recipe Spotlight :: Samosas

Here’s another great Ugandan recipe to try! Samosas are a common snack food you can buy at stalls on the side of the road. They’re inexpensive and delicious, so always a hit with the Sseko ladies. There are generally two types of Samosas, beef or vegetable, and the mixture of spicy vegetables and/or meat is wrapped in a thin sheet of pastry and then fried. Give them a try and let us know what you think! […]

By |2014-04-08T07:00:51+00:00April 8th, 2014|Life at Sseko, The Ugandan Cookbook, Uganda|Comments Off on Sseko Recipe Spotlight :: Samosas

Wise Advice from the Sseko Women

It’s the little moments that catch us off guard. In the morning when all the Sseko clad feet come splashing in the door. At tea time when the women are quietly stirring spoonfuls of sugar into their tea. During the day, when the ladies break out into song and dance in the middle of sewing straps or gluing soles. On a daily basis, the Sseko women are… Friends. Aunties. Coworkers. […]

By |2014-02-25T07:00:34+00:00February 25th, 2014|Life at Sseko, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Sseko Recipe Spotlight :: Ugandan Beans and Rice

We’re excited to share another recipe with you, which we are giving the official name ‘Ugandan Beans and Rice.’ At the Sseko workshop in Uganda, we eat this dish 2-3 times a week, and it is a common dish made at Ugandan homes as well. Let us know what you think! […]

By |2014-02-11T07:00:44+00:00February 11th, 2014|Life at Sseko, The Ugandan Cookbook, Uganda|Comments Off on Sseko Recipe Spotlight :: Ugandan Beans and Rice

Sseko Graduate Spotlight :: Talent

Talent is a motivated and enthusiastic young girl. She brought life to the workshop during her time at Sseko with her sense of humor and innovative work style. She entered Sseko ready to learn and be exposed to new ideas. During her time at Sseko she says, "I learned to work wholeheartedly, and to be self-motivated during work with minimal supervision." She thrived on learning about innovation and creative teamwork. She could be counted on to demonstrate flexibility and ingenuity in daily work and problem solving. She also learned about the value of teamwork and that more can be accomplished [...]

By |2014-01-28T07:00:38+00:00January 28th, 2014|Life at Sseko, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Sseko Graduate Spotlight :: Lea

A Lea Story: Lea's first hairdo after high school--which requires boys and girls alike to keep their heads closely shaved--represented a new life stage as much as her diploma. So as a new graduate, a university-bound young woman, Lea showed off new hair that twisted its way in cute curlicues around her head. Still, Lea’s not out to make any big statement. Personality-wise she exudes serenity and harmony, satisfied to work while humming to herself--hymns and year-round Christmas carols, mostly. For her a good work ethic is all about peaceful relationships, and she brings a placid, lake-like happy calm in [...]

By |2014-01-25T07:00:43+00:00January 25th, 2014|Life at Sseko, News, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Sseko Graduate Spotlight :: Moreen

We’ve got our eye on Maureen---mostly because she is notorious for pulling hilarious pranks. And her impressions are rather impeccable. When asked to impersonate Liz Bohannon, she boldly took the challenge. (Who doesn’t love a girl willing to impersonate her boss to her face?) She stood up and started moving quickly around the room, giving hive fives and squeals of delight. "You’re always moving about. So quickly. Like you’re exercising everywhere you go!" She’s got jokes. But she also has a more serious side.Moreen SSEKO CLASS YEAR: 2012 After watching her older sister get pregnant and drop out of school, [...]

By |2014-01-21T07:00:41+00:00January 21st, 2014|Life at Sseko, News, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Sseko Graduate Spotlight :: Mercy

During her years at Sseko, Mercy learned quite a bit about starting a business. She saw the initial design phase and continued working with Sseko for 2 more years. Mercy became a confident young woman during her time at Sseko and was an excellent support for our management as we learned the ropes of living and working in Uganda. Mercy learned the importance of teamwork during her time at Sseko. Mercy SSEKO CLASS YEAR: 2010 Mercy is currently attending Makerere University and is pursuing a course in Information Technology and Computer Science. She expects to graduate in early 2013, and [...]

By |2014-01-07T06:48:07+00:00January 7th, 2014|Life at Sseko, News, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Sseko Uganda Annual Christmas Bash

‘Tis the season for the Sseko Uganda Christmas Party and a thrilling Secret Santa gift exchange! Yep, it’s that time of year again and despite the down pouring rain we keep having in the middle of dry season, it didn’t stop us from planning our annual Christmas party. Over the mud puddles and through the traffic jam, To the Sseko Christmas Party we go! Some of the ladies brought their children and our day was spent laughing, singing and dancing in each other’s company. The ladies wore their finest dresses for the occasion, which didn’t stop them from participating in [...]

By |2013-12-21T07:00:04+00:00December 21st, 2013|Life at Sseko, News, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Sseko Workshop Learnings :: Family Planning

Along with providing sustainable employment for our amazing Sseko women in Uganda, we provide a comprehensive social impact program for them, educating them on topics including budgeting and financial skills, computer training, English classes, health and first aid training. At Sseko, we believe that by creating an environment of dignity, honor, dedication and education, marginalized women in East Africa can pursue their dreams, improve their communities and make the world a more just and beautiful place. […]

By |2013-12-17T07:00:51+00:00December 17th, 2013|Life at Sseko, Uganda, Women of Sseko|Comments Off on Sseko Workshop Learnings :: Family Planning

Sseko Workshop Learning’s :: Computer Training

Along with providing sustainable employment for our amazing Sseko women in Uganda, we provide a comprehensive social impact program for them, educating them on topics including budgeting and financial skills, computer training, English classes, health and first aid training. At Sseko, we believe that by creating an environment of dignity, honor, dedication and education, marginalized women in East Africa can pursue their dreams, improve their communities and make the world a more just and beautiful place. This month we ran computer training sessions for the women on topics from Computers Introduction and Internet & Email to Computer Programs (Word and [...]

By |2013-12-07T07:00:49+00:00December 7th, 2013|Life at Sseko, News, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

Thanksgiving Dinner :: Uganda Style

This Thanksgiving we decided to do a little something special for our Sseko ladies and give them a taste of American Thanksgiving! Our three in house American’s (Emily, Designer // Nicole, Design Intern // Rose, Director of Programs and Communications) whipped up a feast of some of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes and the ladies couldn’t wait to dig in! With some creativity and some this-is-africa kinds of experiences (including buying a live chicken and watching its head and feathers come off before our very eyes) we were able to recreate a little American Thanksgiving spirit. Happy Thanksgiving Uganda Style!

By |2013-12-02T11:23:04+00:00December 2nd, 2013|Life at Sseko, The Ugandan Cookbook, Uganda|0 Comments

A Ugandan Wedding

Last week on the blog we featured Sharon’s Introduction Ceremony, and this week we’re celebrating her wedding! There’s nothing we like more around here than a good party, and what’s better than celebrating the wedding of our dear Sharon with a whole lot of singing and dancing in fancy dresses with sodas in our hands?     [ Jenifer and Matilda ] The wedding itself was not unlike the typical wedding with vows and exchanging of rings, but it did include a lot more shimmying, shaking and gospel music than normal. We loved seeing Sharon as a beautiful bride in [...]

By |2013-11-16T07:00:23+00:00November 16th, 2013|Life at Sseko, News, Uganda, Women of Sseko|0 Comments

A Ugandan Introduction Ceremony

Let’s talk about introductions.   First, let me introduce Sharon. She’s our strap team leader here in the Sseko workshop in Uganda. Sharon is a conscientious leader, talented seamstress and loving friend. And Sharon is comedian. Oh, my. Sharon is always bringing down the house with her witty comments and contagious laughter. Sharon had an introduction ceremony recently. An introduction ceremony, you say? I told you we were talking about introductions! […]

By |2013-11-09T07:00:00+00:00November 9th, 2013|Life at Sseko, Uganda, Women of Sseko|Comments Off on A Ugandan Introduction Ceremony
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