Mariama Camara: female entrepreneurship at the service of social engagement
In Guinea, where women constitute over half of the population, Mariama Camara illustrates what female entrepreneurship can offer as an alternative in terms of sustainable development.
In the town of Fria, 140 km from Conakry, where she practises her triple talent as a seamstress, dyer and soap producer, she is a symbol of social engagement and community change. Between the capacity-building assistance she provides to various women groups and her involvement in the structural transformation of value chains, there is entrepreneurship at the service of social engagement.
Yet, ten years ago, Mariama’s fate was similar to that of millions of women across Africa who suffer from the social gaps and discrimination and have little access to education in an environment where social status is prominent.
It all started when she decided in 2012 to develop sewing skills in order to compensate for her lack of qualification. Four years later, she became socially involved and in turn trained young girls to facilitate their empowerment. She didn’t stop. In Fria, she became active in the Women’s Empowerment Center, and continued to train at the same time. She has now acquired skills in dyeing and saponification. Mariama the trainer has become known to the women of the region. Her social commitment is central to the entrepreneurial philosophy that she develops. Rightly, alongside her business, she heads the Association for the Protection, Promotion and Inclusion of Young Girls, her NGO created in 2016.
Through her hard work, her continuous efforts, a certain gift of self and a strong dose of faith in the future, Mariama has transformed the handicaps that society imposes on women into levers to support her entrepreneurial journey.