CEO, Pure Hand Crafts by Marie
Maria Ufua is an amazing woman.
She is a 28 year old lady from Okhuesan, Esan Southeast local government area, Edo state. She is a fashion designer and the owner of Pure Hand Crafts by Marie, an entrepreneur and a youth and body image advocate.
The last of five children, Maria grew up protected and loved by her parents and siblings. Her balance was almost shattered when her father died in 1997; she was 9 years old then. The family didn’t think they would survive but Maria’s mum stepped up to the plate.
‘I had a very hard working mum who studied Library science but was a fashion designer and a caterer at that time. She ensured I and my siblings all had the best of education, food, clothes, morals and skills before she left this world in the year 2004.’
Another death, and this time of her mum and support system, shook them really bad. Maria and her siblings knew they had each other and could go as far as they wanted if they emulated their mother.
‘When my mum passed on, I realized it was time to use every single thing I learnt from her. Hence, I was able to achieve everything I have achieved today.’
But it wasn’t always easy. You see, Maria is a plus sized lady and had been for a while. She was not always plus sized though. In her words, she used to be very skinny but she always knew she was predisposed to being big because of genetics. And as with most plus sized ladies (and men), Maria was teased mercilessly.
‘Some people love my size. But a lot of people always throw insults when I pass by them. Also, when people get to know about things I do, they are always shocked and ask “how can a fat girl do all these?” I just always ignore negative comments and focus on what I want to achieve.’
Ignoring deliberate meanness can get hard but Maria’s recipe worked to get her mind off the shamers; good natured and otherwise. Her recipe? Picking up causes and working at achieving them.
|Maria and a participant at one of her trainings|
‘I have a fashion business called Pure Hand outfit where I make clothes, shoes and accessories for both males and females of all ages. I have worked with a lot of Non-Governmental Organizations in training youths and women in skills acquisition. I am currently the secretary general of Karkara Development Initiative and I am the youngest in the organization. I am also the President of Karkara Youth Ambassadors for Peace. I am also with Fabsisters Corner, a size advocacy and women empowerment group. I have a passion for youth empowerment hence I am always organizing free skills acquisition trainings. I also partner with the Kaduna Ministry of Commerce and Industry in promoting handcrafts made in Kaduna State.’
In spite all these, all some people still see is ‘a fat girl’. This was one of the reasons Maria joined the Fabsisters.
|Maria and other members of Fabsisters in African attire|
‘Fabsisters corner is a size advocacy and empowerment group. It was formed by two lovely friends; Ijeoma Chinelo Obasi and Kenechi Adunni Okafor in Lagos state. Fabsisters was officially launched October, 2016, though it has been in existence for over five years. The organization has different chapters in different states and also in Ghana. The Kaduna chapter started October, 2016. In Fabsisters, we ensure that no sister (plus sized woman) feels less confident in herself because of her size. Also articles on major problems faced by plus sized women and their solutions are passed across to members to enable them conquer their fears. We are also planning a skill acquisition training to empower less privileged women and youths in our community. We ensure that no member is denied a job opportunity because of size or bullied in any way. We also ensure we are there whenever any sister needs help of any sort. ’
How about that?! Maria does so much for women and young people that we should celebrate her! But better than that, Maria would still do what she doing if no one saw her as anything other than a big girl. Her self confidence level is worth emulating. And even though there will still be people who will read this and scoff, Maria is confident about this;
‘My self-confidence is because I believe in myself and I believe that whatever I set out to do, with God by my side, I will achieve my goals regardless of what people think about me, my size or my gender. I believe in me, and when you believe in yourself you will conquer the world.’
And we love Maria for that! She is a beautiful, awesome, brilliant and talented woman. We are honored to know her and share in her work.
Maria Ufua, you are a black girl and you rock!
To participate in any of her trainings, order your clothes made or know more about Fabsisters, contact Maria via;