Sseko began as a way to generate income for high potential, talented young women in Uganda to continue on to university.
It all started when founder Liz Bohannon quit her first full-time job and moved to Uganda without a plan (or money or a job for that matter!). She met an incredible group of some of the smartest women in Uganda who tested into college but couldn’t afford to go.
Liz designed a pair of strappy sandals that have a leather base and interchangeable fabric straps that can be tied and styled in hundreds of different ways and went on to hire three young women to make them. Liz promised them that if they made sandals for the nine-month gap between high school and college, she would sell their sandals and they’d be able to afford college in the fall.
And it worked!
Liz didn’t stop there. After sending the first three women to college, she continued to grow Sseko into a flourishing social impact business.
Every woman who has graduated from Sseko has gone on to pursue higher education and is on her way to making the world a more beautiful place. This year, Sseko will enable their 106th woman to attend university — and are sending their biggest class to date this year!
Sseko hasn’t done all this through just selling sandals. The product line has grown to a wide variety of ethically made fashionable products so you can quite literally wear Sseko from head to toe!
In addition to their college-bound team, Sseko also employs women from all walks of life. By creating an environment of dignity, honor, and dedication, Sseko Designs provides the opportunity for women in East Africa to end the cycle of poverty and create a more equitable society.
In addition to the Sseko team in Uganda, they also create opportunities for women in the U.S. to earn an income and fulfill their dreams! Through the Sseko Fellows Program, providing the resources for women across the U.S. to sell Sseko and launch their own ethical and impactful direct sales businesses. Every Fellow is paired one-to-one with a woman on the team in Uganda!
Finally, Sseko partners with existing artisan groups across East Africa to produce exquisitely crafted goods, and are currently partnering with organizations in Kenya and Ethiopia to produce woven textiles and fine leather goods. These additional products help contribute to the Sseko Designs goal of growing East African economies through trade and employment. In addition, the revenue generated through these lines allows Sseko to expand their mission to educate and empower women through employment, training, and scholarships.
You may have seen Sseko in magazines like Vogue and Cosmopolitan, on celebrities like Sophia Bush – or on ABC’s Shark Tank! Setting a new standard for transparency and connection between you and the hands and lives and stories behind your stuff. When you wear Sseko, you’re not only sporting beautiful, stylish items that you’ll have for years to come, but you’re giving a woman the opportunity to pursue her dreams and become a leader in her community and the world