FashionABLE: How beautiful scarves empower female entrepreneurs in Africa

FashionABLE Etanesh & Meseret scarves - poor and pretty

Have you heard of FashionABLE? It’s a non-profit organization that works to create sustainable businesses in Africa through scarves. They do this by empowering women to start small business cooperatives, and partnering with manufacturers who are required to employ women with fair wages and fair hiring practices.

FashionABLE Meseret scarf - poor and pretty

Each handmade, 100% cotton scarf — like the woman it is named after — has a story. The scarves are tagged with handwritten notes from their namesakes. The tag on the Meseret scarf (above) reads: Because of you, I am ABLE to… “To  love well again – Thank you, Meseret.” When Meseret was a child, her father passed away, and she entered into prostitution to help support her family. She worked on the streets for 13 years, but she now helps create scarves with FashionABLE. Read her full story here.

FashionABLE Etanesh scarf - poor and pretty

Meseret is not the only FashionABLE woman who turned to prostitution as a means to support herself and her family.  The company has partnered with “Women At Risk” to rehabilitate former sex workers. Etanesh turned to the streets after her uncle died, leaving her alone and penniless. Through FashionABLE, Etanesh is now ABLE to “see my son, Abel, grow in character.” Read her full story here.

Sami wearing FashionABLE Etanesh scarf - poor and pretty

Here I am wearing the Etanesh scarf, also available in Emerald Green and Dragon Fruit Pink.

I love when I come across a non-profit organization that is doing actual good in the world, rather than enticing you to donate money without knowing how that money is spent. My favorite part: “your purchase of a scarf creates jobs, so that the women are not dependent upon charity, but instead are a vital part of a developing economy.” What’s that proverb? “Give a woman a fish and you feed her for a day. Teach a woman to fish and you feed her for a lifetime.” Something like that ;)

wall of scarves - poor and pretty

So, the next time you add a scarf to your collection, make it mean something. ♥

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which may generate a revenue for Poor & Pretty when a purchase is made. You can read more about my affiliate link policies here.



  1. Kristine V.   •  

    OMG, Sami–this is SO AWESOME!!! I will be giving these scarves as birthday and Christmas gifts for the rest of the year… thank you for the inspiration!!

  2. Suzi   •  

    What a great post! And what a beautiful organization :)

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