Meet Deka: the artisan who inspired us to rethink our payment policy

Deka joined the Riyo Rumoday artisans in 2019. Before joining Riyo Rumoday, Deka went through the vocational training program run by our non-profit partner. She was chosen to join the training program because she comes from one of the most vulnerable communities, and did not have the opportunity to complete her formal education.

It was through this program that Deka first learned how to sew. She soon began to find her passion of making things with her hands and would spend all her free time working on her skills and selling her pieces in the neighborhood.

After Deka graduated from the sewing program she was asked to join Riyo Rumoday. She became intrigued with how they were able to make such beautiful jewelry with paper. The women knew Deka would be a great addition because she is a fast learner and a hard worker.

Before Deka worked with Riyo Rumoday, no one in her family made a consistent income. She is one of four siblings and there are seven people living in her household. Her father tries to get around the neighborhood, but it does not provide steady work.

Deka’s mom was weary of her joining the group because she would have to spend money for transport and she was worried she would not bring home enough money to support the cost. In fact, it was recognizing Deka’s situation that made us alter the way we paid for the products we ordered.

We use to pay the women when they finished the full purchase order. There would often be products that were short from the quantity ordered due to lack of supplies and other products that would be more than we ordered. The women also said they preferred to be paid at the end of an order so that they had more motivation to work hard and meet a deadline.

However, after Deka began working full time with the artisans, they all realized that monthly payments would be helpful for all of them to cover costs at home (like transportation). So in September of 2020, we switched our payment model to better reflect the needs of the artisans. We divide out the expected payment of the order by how many months they will work and pay them at the end of each month. Then after we receive the order we double check all quantities and make adjustments for the following month if needed.

Before Deka started bringing home a monthly salary, her mother said they would buy food when they had money. Deka is now the main source of income for her family and they are able to better provide for their daily needs. Deka has also empowered her mom by teaching her how to sew and she is bringing empowerment to the next generation by sending her sister to school!

Deka’s Favorite Food: hamburgers, which she learned how to make herself while completing her training with our partner non-profit

Deka’s Interests: When at home she enjoys cooking for her younger siblings. In her free time she loves to read books in Somali. 

Shop The Deka Charm Bracelet, named after Deka! 


Artisan Empowerment artisans, empowerment


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