Who we are.
Kaaba Coulibaly is full-time CEO of PIYELI, a micro-finance credit union serving low income people in Mali. Carol is a consultant serving credit unions in the U.S. They have been friends since the 90's when they met while working together in Mali. It is their vision to help young women break the cycle of poverty in Mali, one of the world’s poorest countries.
Kaaba and Carol founded HereJe training center in Mali because micro-finance doesn't reach the poorest young women begging on the streets. Girls who beg have no access to skills training to generate income.
Founded in 2005, Kaaba and Carol developed an 18-month program that provides training in traditional craft techniques and basic business skills, basic literacy, and health education. Of the 20 girls enrolled in two pilot programs, two graduates have started their own businesses, two are employed full time, and eight formed their own artisan cooperative in Bamako. Their artisan coop enjoys membership in the Mali Fair Trade Association.
The success of the pilot programs led Kaaba and Carol to found Fabric of Life, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and the Fabric of Life Boutique in Edmonds, Washington, to sell products made by graduates of Here Je and other fair trade goods. Proceeds from the boutique are used to fund the organization’s operations and activities at Here Je.
Here is a 3-minute video about who we are.