I met Rahama Wright, President of Shea Yaleen, a few years ago at a networking event put on by the DC National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA). Actually it was more than just a networking event, it was a meeting for a business incubator/ consulting service – the Community Consulting Clinic. Businesses or budding businesses submitted proposals to be mentored by a team of NBMBAA members to help refine their business ideas and catapult these businesses to the next level. I was very impressed with Raheema when I met her and I was inspired by Raheema’s drive and touched by her desire to help women create sustainable income in Mali.
Shea Yeleen International’s mission is to promote sustainable economic development and empower women in rural West Africa through organizing and training women owned cooperatives to produce, market, and sell high quality shea butter; and educate consumers in the U.S. about natural body care products and fair trade.
Oprah caught wind of Shea Yaleen’s good work and featured the company online:
In November 2008 O introduced the winners of our Women Rule! leadership training contest. One of them, Rahama Wright, founded fair trade shea butter cooperatives in Mali to bring income—and hope—to the women there. We tried the lavender-and-honeysuckle-scented Body Butter ($25) that Wright’s nonprofit, Shea Yeleen, produces; it, too, rules! Its deeply moisturizing shea butter leaves skin radiant. And 50 percent of its retail price goes back to the Mali women’s communities. That should really make you glow.
Rahama Wright, traveled with 4 teams (totaling 17 participants) from the University of St. Thomas to Mali, last March, in order to facilitate meetings and conduct prototype testing in our pilot village Dio. The trip was a huge success. The engineering students were able to work directly with the women to redesign the mixer prototype and it worked!
In this video, students from the University of St. Thomas, MN demonstrate the re-engineering of the mixer prototype.
Shea Yaleen is a progressive successful company that I’ve seen grow. The model is one to be admired along with the success from Raheema’s drive and vision.
Shea Yaleen has been celebrated across the web. I encourage you to support Shea Yaleen in anyway that you know how. But the best is to by products for yourself or for someone you love.