From September 2017 through December 2023, we have had nearly 250 people participate in our projects. We offer up to three years of training in tailoring, leather work, or weaving. We are careful to select trades for which there are markets in Niger.
Training Young People to Become Artisans
We started by giving 36 young people 3 years of training in tailoring and leather work. They graduated in 2021.
We began training a new group of 60 tailoring and leather working students in 2021. They will graduate in 2024.
We launched training in weaving with 10 students in Niamey in 2021. At the request of village leadership, we will begin training 10 students in rural Kirubbe Keyna in 2024.
We trained 26 refugees from Mali in tailoring in 2020.
We trained 30 young women who were recuperating at an obstetric fistula clinic in tailoring for 9 months in 2023. At the end of the 9-month program, we gave each student her own sewing machine to ensure that when they returned to their villages they would be able to earn money with their new skill.
Supporting practicing artisans
We work to increase the incomes of practicing artisans by providing training, equipment, and access to markets.
- We are training weavers on how to use European-style floor looms. The looms increase productivity and are easier on the weavers’ bodies than traditional looms.
- We are making repairs to a workshop, purchasing equipment, and giving 9 months of training to an association of leather workers who are polio survivors with the goal of increasing their incomes.
- We installed and equipped a weaving shed in the village of Kirubbe Keyna.
Preserving the cultural heritage of Niger.
Beautiful, complex cloth has been woven in Niger for hundreds of years. Handweaving is a source of pride that unifies the people of Niger, a nation made up of many ethnic groups. It is also a resource that people can use to increase their incomes and improve their lives. However, the art is in danger of dying out because weavers lack access to markets. We are preserving handweaving by training a new generation of weavers, promoting the sales of handweaving, and expanding the market by developing new products.
Our Plans for the Future Include:
- Expanding and adding training sites in Niamey and in other towns and rural areas in Niger.
- Expanding our training programs to include other crafts and construction trades.
- Enhancing our curriculum to include foundational education (literacy, numeracy, French) and entrepreneurial training with a focus on marketing to international markets.
- Continuing to expand market access for Nigerien craftspeople.
- Continuing to preserve knowledge of Nigerien handweaving and educating the world about this beautiful cultural tradition.