“My name is Jane Mbilla. I was born in Bawku, in the Upper East Region of Ghana. I grew up with my parents and siblings in the north. The typical occupation of my people is the weaving and sewing of smocks. Smocks are a traditional garment of the people of the north. My parents were into the weaving of smocks, and they were particular about the colors they used. Some of my siblings and I helped my parents in weaving. My parents sacrificed their time and effort to weaving, which was the family’s main source of income and catered for us all through school. Seeing my parents do all that they did, I have learned to also sacrifice all for my children. I also helped my parents to market the smocks, and that was how I migrated to Accra, to further my education.
“In the tertiary institution I studied hospitality, which helped me relate well with people in my marketing field. Financial difficulty was one of the main challenges I faced while in school. I sold the smocks to my mates and friends and lecturers. I still work in hospitality, in the sense of catering and providing food services to people. I get orders through friends and family.
“With the rise in the corona virus pandemic, I thought of helping in my own way to fight the pandemic by moving into the designing and sales of face masks. I contribute by choosing fabrics and designing, and a friend does the sewing. I remember my first time designing a face mask. After designing and wearing, it looked like a purse, but with constant practice, I now design nice face masks. I learned to sew through a friend. I spend most of my time with her in her shop. My favorite thing about the craft is the choice of colors.
“With this work, I know I will get the opportunity to help the world with the face mask campaign.”