Feminist Wednesday found Mariama on instagram and was so excited about the fashion line she created, inspired by the craftsmanship and textiles of Africa. We reached out to ask her some questions about her business, her charity, and why she thinks women are worth investing in. This is what she had to say:
Please introduce yourself to our readers
My name is Mariama Mounir Camara-Petrolawicz. I am an entrepreneur and humanitarian born in the Republic of Guinea. I am the Founder of Mariama Fashion Production sourcing and manufacturing company working with artisans across Africa. I am also the Co-Founder of There Is No Limit Foundation a nonprofit organization I started with my sister Aissata M.B. Camara to empower women, children and communities. I am originally from the nalu tribe of Boke and the fifth of eight children. I currently live in New York City.
Tell us about Mariama Fashion production
Mariama Fashion Production is a sourcing and manufacturing company. Our products and materials are made in Africa. We are revamping and bringing ancient African textiles traditions back into fashion through high quality craftsmanship. We are preserving the African tradition while making our textiles and products accessible to the design world. The goal of my company is to contribute to the work and development of local artisans, enable them to thrive and give them opportunities to access the international market. The final goal is to attract designers to manufacture their products in Africa. I am very connected to artisanal work and I believe in the numerous possibilities of handmade sustainable designs. Growing up in Guinea, I watched my family design and produce handmade bold and beautiful prints. Tie-dye is a tradition in my family; members of my maternal family were one of the early tie-dyers in the Kindia region of Guinea. This is also where we are currently implementing There Is No Limit Foundation’s Association of Women Tie-Dyers Project. Through the project, we work with local women tie-dyers in other to provide economic empowerment.
Tell us about There Is No Limit Foundation
I started There Is No Limit Foundation with my sister Aissata M.B. Camara. She is my partner, best friend and one of my inspirations. We started There Is No Limit Foundation in 2008 with a goal to give back to those less fortunate. We wanted to make sure individuals are given opportunity to change their lives and not just provided with another handout. We believe entrepreneurship is one of the best out of poverty. We also believe that advancing education, agriculture, health and sanitation will lead to increased well being of the poor.
Do you consider yourself a feminist?
I consider myself an advocate for women and children. I love to share their stories of struggles through the work we do at There Is No Limit Foundation. I am deeply involved with fighting violence and abuse against women and children. I participate in high- level meetings at the UN and add my voice to stop FGM/C and other areas not involving or empowering women.
Why do you think its important to invest in women?
I want to help women because they shape our future. If we give women the necessary tools to ensure their well being, we can ensure that they, their families and communities will succeed. Empowering women just makes sense.
Who is your biggest role model?
My mother is my first role model. She thought me how to be strong and to never give up. She is among one the first successful female entrepreneur in the Republic of Guinea. I picked up my entrepreneurial spirit from her. I must say that Tory Burch and Oprah Winfrey have a lot of impact on me as well. Finally, our African mothers and sisters are my role models. They are strong and resilient. No matter what they went through, they always survived and raised us to be better.
One last word for our readers and how can they get involved with your work?
Never Give up and always believe that anything is possible. When I moved to the United States in 2001, I had $100 USD and my dream. I went through a lot of struggles but I never gave up on my dream. I will also tell them to get involved with their communities because the joy of life is to give back. Let’s all do something to empower others. I would also love for readers to get involved with our work at There Is No Limit Foundation. Readers can visit our website at: www.thereisnolimitfoundation.org. We are looking for ambassadors to represent our work and help us spread the word. They can also learn about Mariama Fashion Production at www.mariamafashionproduction.com They can also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.