By Allison Olcsvay
The Mountaineer, Waynesville, N.C.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A North Carolina woman is taking the leap into entrepreneurship with the goal of inspiring women in Africa to do the same. Her exporting business, “Wema Global” takes clothing that is still in good condition that might otherwise end up in American landfills, and ships it to Africa. Once in Africa, women entrepreneurs there can resell the clothing in their market shops, thereby creating economic impact on both sides of the ocean
When it comes to empowering women, Francine Popular, of Waynesville, has learned a thing or two in her life.
She was born in the African nation of Congo and learned that women can and should make a way for themselves in the world.
She met and fell in love with her husband Gordon Popular when he came from America to work for Chevron in the 1980s as a medical advisor in Congo. When the nation fell into civil war, Chevron sent its employees’ spouses and children back to the United States and Francine and her young son, went to live with her husband’s family in North Carolina.
Gordon soon joined them when the danger became too great for him to stay. The young family settled in Waynesville in 1991 to raise their son. Gordon, and later Francine attended college at Haywood Community College.
Their son, Gregory, went on to become a nuclear machinist in the Navy.
Francine eventually took a job at HCC, but when she lost that job in 2014, she knew it was time to make another big change in her life.
In September 2014, she followed her dream and opened an exporting business, Wema Global. It was her intention to not only provide for her family, but to help better the lives of women in her native Africa.