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About Us

Dispositif d’Initiatives pour les Métiers de l’Artisanat (DIMA) is a nonprofit licensed by the Republic of Niger and located in Niamey, Niger. DIMA is also accredited as a vocational training school by the Nigerien government. Founded in 2015, we started training youth in 2017.

Our Mission

DIMA trains young people in the skills to earn their living as artisans, increases the incomes of practicing craftspeople, and preserves tradition-based arts in Niger.

Our Vision

We work to build a thriving network of successful Nigerien artisans with access to the skills, tools, and markets they need to support themselves, their families, and their community.

Our Values

  • Education of our youth; they are our future
  • Valorization of our cultural heritage; knowledge of our ancestors’ accomplishments inspires us with confidence in our abilities to make progress
  • Collaboration with our partners; it is how we move forward together
  • Respect for ourselves, others, and our environment; it is how we live with dignity

About Our President and Founder

“I owe everything I have accomplished in life to my training in leather work. I want young people in Niger to have the same opportunity I had when I was young.”

Soumana Saley

Soumana Saley now divides his time between the United States and Niger, but he started life in a small village in Niger. At the age of 11, he went to work as a leather work apprentice at a large cooperative of artisans in Niamey, the capital of Niger. He credits all that he has achieved in life to being able to become a skilled artisan. As a young man he saw a documentary about the German vocational training system. He decided that he wanted to start a vocational training school in Niger to give young people the same opportunities he had enjoyed. It took him twenty years to realize his dream, but in 2017 he started DIMA with three old sewing machines and 15 students. As of December 2023, DIMA will have had nearly 250 people participate in projects.

For more about Soumana:

NPR Feature

Smithsonian Folklife Magazine Feature

DIMA Staff

DIMA staff are all either master craftsmen or experienced in providing services to artisans.

Financial Reports

2020 Statement

2021 Statement

2022 Statement

2023 Statement