Oh boy, do we love women for who they are and all they do! (Which also translates to: We love ourselves!)
More than 10 years ago, Black women came together in the Historic Hill District neighborhood of Pittsburgh to strategize and solve common challenges they were facing as budding entrepreneurs and handmade artists. Pretty much everyone had a home-based business and was cultivating an individual dream or vision for self.
But when they came together, magic happened!
The sisters shared stories of their personal struggles, and what worked and what didn’t. They brought their experiences, knowledge, skills and culture, sharing and building on a new, collective vision that combined principles of cooperative business and mutual aid, but also Africana values and cultural practices.
With research on the African and African-American condition, history and successful practices, the founding members of Ujamaa believe the combination of these principles are the best support for Black women, their families and community.
Fast-forward to 2018, and here we are!
Ujamaa Collective is a founded 501 c-3 organization that has worked to support over 150 artists and entrepreneurs in our local community and abroad to our global Africana communities. Generally speaking, we do community and economic development; however, we always like to add that Ujamaa meets at the intersection of arts, culture & entrepreneurship.
We would like to stop the leakage of dollars from our communities and see more circulation and support of the artists and workers who sacrifice and give so much of themselves to keep our communities afloat. (So many of them are women!)
Programming we’ve developed over time includes …
• Our shared artisan retail space
• An Entrepreneurship Preparation Program for women
• Open-air marketplaces
• The Aya Duafe Arts & Entrepreneurship Program for teen girls
• An experimental production farm and community garden
Add to all that multitudes of workshops and trainings covering areas from health and wellness, children’s literacy, and the environment, to maker skill-building, cross-cultural exchange, music and movement for children and so much more.
Today we are profoundly honored to hold space for our community for vibrant interactions and fair-trade exchange. We receive visitors from across our region and from many places around the world such as Japan, West Africa, Ireland, South Africa and Rwanda.
You can help Ujamaa Collective be seen (which helps marginalized makers be seen and valued!) by visiting with us for one of our many workshops (sign up for our e-newsletter here) and shopping with us.
And if you’re inspired and generous — any amount helps! — please make a donation to Ujamaa by clicking here.
Asante Sana! (Thank you!)