Spotlight on Amani Liberia Men

Amani Liberia doesn’t just strive to empower women. A few men are a part of the family as well. We hope to bridge the historically wide gap between men and women by allowing a safe environment of equality for them to work in together.

At Amani, Ellis, 28 sews many of Amani Liberia’s most complicated pieces, such as clothing with tricky pleats and zippers. He also teaches the women to sew on Mondays.

“Faster, faster, faster!” shouts a smiling Ellis, who is quick to laugh and very encouraging towards his struggling students one recent Monday. He gestures expressively with his hands and is eager to pass along his knowledge of sewing techniques. “They are improving, small-small (little by little),” he says gratification. Ellis trains them to control the treadle sewing machines and stitch straight. His trainees are currently working on a hot pad.

Ellis is a happily married man. He met his wife years ago when he was training to become a tailor, but he waited a long time before he began to pursue a relationship with her. “I was wanting to dress (move) to her, but I first wanted to make something of myself”. So he began a small tailoring business, which he still runs part-time. He and his wife have now been married for six years and share a two-and-a-half year old little girl.

Ellis whole-heartedly believes in equipping women with skills for a brighter future. “We need to get more people to work here and encourage them to learn. We have more sisters in the community, and Amani can help them.”

Ellis isn’t just helping to empower this generation; he also has his sights on the next generation of Liberian women, especially his daughter. “Amani can help me help myself to send my child to school.”


Austin, 23, stitches a wide variety of Amani products. “And, I fix the machines.” he adds with emphasis. Austin is a savior anytime one of the treadle sewing machines breaks down.

Although it takes Austin about an hour and a half to walk from his home to Amani each day, he loves his work---and his co-workers. “Their behavior is good towards me, and we are all learning from each other.”

Austin is an integral part of the Amani team for many reasons, especially during devotion. “We all pray, and I drum!” he exclaims. A common prayer during devotionals is one of thanksgiving for their jobs. “We pray for Amani, saying, ‘let it continue!’”

Austin lives with his parents and extended family. “We are more than 10!” Austin says of his many roommates. When asked if Austin is married, he shakes his head with a shy smile, saying, “No, but I got my girlfriend.” Austin explains that he wants to save money and build a house before marrying her, and the nearby women all interject vigorously, insisting, “Yes, he must first save to build a house for his wife!”

This isn’t the first time his fellow workers, almost all older women, have given him friendly advice. In fact, a visitor to Amani might get the sense that Austin has a lot of older sisters, always quick to offer clear instruction for life.

Austin has much to look forward to, but has only one humble prayer for the future: “I want to be well and come to work.”


“I started sewing when I was small,” Morris, 35, explains. He picked up his sewing skills from a smattering of teachers. Morris was one of Amani Liberia’s very first members. He is a skilled and creative tailor who helped to develop many of Amani’s first products.

Morris lives in Guinea close to the Liberian border, just a few miles from the Amani Liberia building. He has been married for 10 years and has four children (5, 3, 2, and 1 years old).

Morris is appreciative of his Amani paycheck, which he receives twice a month. “I can feed my family and try to make small economy for myself so I can help myself for tomorrow,” he says.

Morris paints a picture of the favorite part of his day, the evening. After work he goes home, bathes, eats dinner with his family, and talks with his children around the table. “I advise them to go to school and to be serious so they can have a better future.”

When asked if he had anything else he’d like to share, he thinks carefully for a moment before answering. “I thank God for my life,” he says. His involvement with Amani came as result of a gentle urge from the founder of Amani ya Juu, Becky Chinchen. “I thank God for that,” he says earnestly. 


1 comment:

  1. I am heartened to see that Amani includes men in its mission. I had wondered about the woman-heavy articles, posts, and pictures and to see these gentlemen as a vital part of your organization makes me very happy. Thank you for sharing this post with us so that we can see how well Amani projects itself into the community and the difference it makes in that space.