Empowering Financial Status of Women Through Fashion

Precious Akintulubo

Fourty years old Lydia struggled for years without a steady source of income despite being a mother. Her financial difficulties significantly impacted her family’s well-being. However, her situation changed when she connected with Project Rebirth. 

Upon learning that she could receive free training and eventually purchase her own sewing machine through installment payments, Lydia felt motivated to join the programme. Despite the challenges of traveling from her home in Oka Akoko, Ondo State, to Adekunle Ajasin University in Akungba, Akure, where the training was held, she eagerly enrolled. She took this opportunity in place of her daughters, who were unavailable due to school commitments.

Today, Lydia is proud to own a sewing machine, which she utilizes to craft bags from recycled clothing materials. The handmade bags have become her source of income, allowing her to support her family financially.

Ogidan Oluwaseunfumi had been unemployed for five long years. As a female with inner drive to be financially stable, she tirelessly explored various avenues to earn a living. However, her case took a turn for the better when she discovered the transformative power of sustainable fashion through Project Rebirth.

Introduced to Project Rebirth by a friend, Ogidan seized the opportunity with unwavering enthusiasm. Eager to secure her financial future, she immersed herself in learning how to create bags from recycled clothing materials, while also gaining invaluable insights into business development strategies.

Now, Ogidan stands proudly as a self-employed entrepreneur in sustainable fashion, thanks to the support of Project Rebirth. Empowered with a sewing machine acquired through the organization, she crafts bags for sale, paving the way for a steady stream of income. Moreover, the business strategies she gained from Project Rebirth has empowered her to expand her venture into other sales avenues, ensuring sustainable earnings that have transformed her life for the better.

26-year-old Vivian Kolawole spent four years working as a tailor, yet struggled to make significant progress in her business due to a lack of effective business strategies. However, her story took a turn for the better when she crossed paths with Project Rebirth, thanks to a recommendation from a friend.

Through Project Rebirth, Vivian had a transformative training process that equipped her with the knowledge and skills needed to elevate her tailoring business to new heights. She learned how to diversify her services by not only sewing garments but also selling fabric, expanding her reach and clientele.

Reflecting on her journey, Vivian expressed her joy at achieving financial independence through her newfound skills and opportunities. “As a woman, it feels so good to be financially independent,” she remarked, a testament to the empowerment she gained through Project Rebirth.


According to Dataphyte, in 2022, over 82.9 million Nigerians are considered poor by national standards. The largest share of female household heads living in poverty are those involved in agriculture alone, it takes up a total of 37.75%. Those in diversified occupations take up 31.54% of female household heads living in poverty. Most are due to factors that include but are not limited to sexism, unequal access to opportunity, social, economic, normative, cultural, religious and political factors. 


Project Rebirth is a female-led social enterprise for the economic empowerment of women in marginalized communities particularly the interior parts of south west, Nigeria through sustainable fashion which in return upgrade the financial status of the women and contribute to solving the issue of climate change through cloth recycling. 

It is meant to curb these issues through Sustainable Fashion. This involves recycling cloth waste/pieces from fashion stores and pure water nylon into school bags. The women (beneficiaries) get trained for free by fashion professionals on how to recycle these waste into sustainable fashion that promotes climate action and as well boost their financial status.

The Programme Director of Project Rebirth, Blessing Ahmodu, said the project started as a burning desire to empower women to be the best version of themselves and provide the support needed to help them accomplish their goals. 

“So many women in Nigeria who are very hardworking has little to show for it. We decided to cater for women and young girls by providing them with opportunities for seamless economic growth and development,” Blessing stated. 


Since 2019, the organisation said they have directly impacted 140 women in five different communities in Ondo state through the FREE training, thereby removing the economic limitations in getting skills. For sustainability, Project Rebirth empowers them with sewing machines at lower cost which they are entitled to pay installmentally and also learn from professionals during the payment process. Finally, they gets free financial literacy classes to support sustainability.


The organization’s action has reportedly contributed to reducing 100+ bags of waste per month in each community and contributed to climate justice.

Also, beneficiaries get empowered with sewing machines which they pay in installments until full payment is being made to set up their businesses and are also given free financial literacy classes to support sustainability.

The success story so far has cut across the beneficiaries testimonies as well as nominations for Awards. In 203, Project Rebirth got nominated by PI Registry under25 category for sustainable fashion. 


A Fashionpreneur, Eklu Oluwaseun said Project Rebirth’s impact is likened to “Organic Fashion.” This involves using renewable energy resources to minimize waste, reduce energy consumption and create fashion items. 

“One of the beautiful ways this initiative has contributed to the fashion industry is by bringing the industry down to the local community where other people can actually benefit from it by turning wasteful materials into something usable.”

Speaking from the perspective of Social Activism, Kilaso Emmanuel, a Social Activist commends the idea for focusing on finding sustainable solutions to the poor environmental situation and economic development in Nigeria. 

“ Recycling fashion waste into school bags will not only take waste out of the society but also gives a child an opportunity to have a good education for him/herself.”

This initiative according to Emmanuel makes the environment conducive health-wise, sustains the women’s financial capability and as well contributes to children’s education. 


Project Rebirth plans to keep expanding its scope which is now only in the  South-West by reaching more women and girls in other parts of Nigeria. 


The major challenge of the project is funding which really hinders a wide implementation of the project. Another challenge is acceptability from communities. Some community leaders don’t accept their ideology hence hindering their activities in the community. 

Africa Change Stories platform is established to tell African stories which are empowering and are at variant to stereotypical views of wars, famine, diseases. At African Change Stories, we believe narrative and angle matters. So we responsibly tell stories ethically. The platform therefore pushes forward great and energizing stories which will propel its people to consciously strive to do more. You have a story? Info@africanchangestories.org

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