There are seven women who create each unique article of clothing in the workshop in Francis and Benedict’s home. They are trained, equipped and resourced to exceed goals and earn rewards on top of their fair wage. The process of bettering the lives of the artisans is our highest priority. We exclusively buy from Francis and Benedict for our American/Togolese line, however Francis and Benedict are empowered to grow their business with no limit to their productivity.
Benedict is a wife (to Francis), mother of 3, and the leader of our seamstresses at Francis + Benedict. Her skills and leadership are invaluable to our team and they started developing years ago. She remembers a time when she would walk 28km each day to learn how to sew. Every morning before they start their work, she leads the seamstresses in a devotional. She says it's one of her favorite parts of the day. She knows each seamstress intimately and truly cares about them, their families, and their futures. It's indisputable that Benedict is known as a loving, generous, and hospitable mother figure in her neighborhood, community and all over Togo. There's no other person we would rather have leading the Togolese team.
After her husband's passing, Ayékinam and her five children were living in an aluminum house with no door and only a fabric curtain to protect them from the outside world. Since her employment as a seamstress with Francis + Benedict, she and her children have been able to move into a new home. She now earns a fair wage and is able to provide for herself and her children.
“Now that am working with Francis + Benedict I’ve re-gained my dignity. Sometimes I didn’t have food or money but since I started working, this problem is solved. When I did not have a place to sleep, you provided me with a house for me and my children.”
After the passing of her father, which led to financial hardships at home, Nadége had to walk away from continuing her education in order to help take care of her mother and four siblings. A local seamstress took Nadége under her wing and taught her everything she knows about sewing. At the age of 27, she continues to work tirelessly to hone her craft. Seeing people admire and enjoy garments that she has created brings her great joy and satisfaction. Because of her employment with Francis+Benedict, not only is Nadége making a fair wage that helps her support her family, but she is also gaining the freedom and independence to dream big dreams for her future.
When Juliette was younger and still in school, her family was having trouble making ends meet. In order to help support her parents and her two siblings, Juliette decided to learn a trade. She began learning how to sew from a seamstress down the street and hasn’t stopped sewing since. Now, Juliette is 26 years old, a talented seamstress, and a new mother to an adorable baby girl named Margaret. She loves working with intricate patterns and embellishing garments with beading. She’s been sewing for Francis + Benedict for over a year now and says that her employment is helping her work towards her dream of opening her own sewing shop.
After her husband’s sudden death, Jeannette was living a difficult life trying to support herself and her son. She was overwhelmed with negative thoughts and she felt as if her world was crumbling. Jeannette heard about an opportunity to pursue her passion of sewing with Francis + Benedict and has been an important part of our team ever since. She is a very talented seamstress, an extremely hard worker and has such a strength about her. Jeannette says that being a part of the Francis + Benedict team is encouraging because everyone brings her so much joy and laughter. Now that she is able to provide for herself and her son, she feels that her mind is at ease. Jeannette says that she is grateful for the prayers, love and the daily encouragement that the Francis + Benedict family gives her.
Lili is 27 years old, married, and doing her best to provide for herself and her two children with little support. She lives with her in-laws but she feels the burden of caring for the children falls solely on her. So when her friend Celestine told her about the job she had just gotten with Francis + Benedict and invited her to come and join her, Lili jumped at the opportunity. And we are so glad she did. She is now an integral part of our team, always laughing with Celestine while working diligently with precision and skill. Her home life is difficult, but she now has a second home, one where she and her children are seen, known, and loved.
Celestine is the sole provider for her family. She has two children and supports her siblings. She worked diligently as an apprentice to learn how to sew, but was unable to find employment as a seamstress for over three years. Resources we scarce at home and she was beginning to lose hope.
About that time Lili, Celestine’s good friend, started working with Francis + Benedict. Celestine began to notice a change in her that was intriguing. Shortly after, she met with Francis and Benedict and asked for a job. This step has dramatically changed the trajectory of her life.
“Since working with Francis + Benedict so many things have changed. I now have a way to take care of my needs and I feel like I am a part of a family.”
Celestine is a cheerful worker and loves to look at the pictures of the women wearing her skirts tagged on Facebook or Instagram. Her hope is that a person wearing one of the skirts she has made, “ feels happy, and when others see such a beautiful skirt they would ask about it, so our name will be known.”
Roukiya was in her teens when she started earning income for her family. Her mother and father are elderly and unable to work and provide for their family. Roukiya is a skilled seamstress and came to Francis + Benedict with incredible sewing skills and dreams of more. She was our first seamstress to decide she wanted to go on to become a shop owner herself.