Daakye is a local non-profit that buys and sells purses to support education in Ghana. Abby Speicher, a recent Westminster College graduate, started the business with her family when she was 16 after visiting Ghana and falling in love with the kids. They brought 100 purses back to the US from this trip, which were all sold within one day. They ordered 1,000 more and have been working on selling those for about four years.
During her senior year of college, Speicher decided she wanted to develop the business further and relaunched it in November 2012.
Daakye supports a group of 22 children from a village right outside of Kumasi, Ghana. "There are a million children looking for help so it's never a problem finding more kids, but right now we are limited to the 22," Speicher says.
The purses are handmade by women in Ghana out of fabrics and are also found at a market there. The market consists of thousands of different fabrics, and it's difficult to find the same fabric twice and hard to pick from so many.
"They are all really colorful and unique—some of them are a little crazy," Speicher says. Each purse also comes with a thank you note from a child in the group in Ghana.
The best part of the business for Speicher is that they are helping kids. "The kids, having them behind me, pushing me to keep going—I'm like oh my God, I better go sell some purses. [Daakye] probably wouldn't exist if we weren't helping the kids because their future is what I am working for; that's definitely the most rewarding part."
And now the nonprofit is working with fundraising groups. It's helping to sell more purses and raise money for clubs and teams. "They've been really successful—we had one group sell 70 purses," Speicher says. They are hoping that sales from fundraising groups and from Christmas this year will help them raise enough to make it worth their time to fly back to Ghana.
When a purse is purchased, $5 goes to the kids to help pay for school, $5 pays for the purse to be made, $1 pays for small extra expenses and the rest goes towards other costs, like trips for staff to Ghana. Each purse sold funds one week of school for a child in Ghana and 36 purses sold pays for one year of school for one child. "We are donating a way bigger portion than most companies do," Speicher says. By the end of this summer, Speicher hopes to sell 800 purses, which would send all 22 children to school for a year, and they have already sold 500.