Every week 15 million clothing garments are brought into Accra, the capital of Ghana. These clothes come from donating bins in Europe, the UK and the United States. The clothes that people in the global north donate, often end up in Kantamanto market, the largest resell market in the world based in Accra, or they go directly to landfill as they arrive in Ghana.
The donated clothing is being transported by women called the Kayayei. These women often come from the northern part of Ghana looking for work in capital city, to try and provide for their family back in the North. The most common job they get is that of the Kayayei, which is a term for a female head porter.
The job of the Kayayei in Kantamanto market is to transport the clothing bales from a pickup point to a market stall, where a shop owner can try to resell the clothes. The Kayayei get between 30 cents and one dollar per roundtrip and one bale can weigh up to 55 kilograms. They carry the bales of clothing on their heads. Their low wages ensures that these women make as many trips per day as their body will allow them too.This leads to a rapid deterioration of their neck and spine. Dr Naa Ashely Dordor, a chiropractor from Accra, has been part of a research into the lasting effects the carrying of the bales has on the spinal cords of the Kayayei.