Aurora Foundation Receives Monumental Funding to Empower Sierra Leone’s Creative Sector
In a significant step towards fostering sustainable economic growth and employment opportunities, the Aurora Foundation has received funding from the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its project, “Lettie Stuart Pottery School – From Earth to Art.” This project, set to begin in fall 2023, aims to empower young individuals in Sierra Leone through an 18-month pottery school, offering them a chance to cultivate employable technical skills and reshape their future prospects.
Addressing Youth Unemployment and Skill Shortages
Sierra Leone, a country with approximately 60% youth unemployment, faces a pressing need for initiatives that address this challenge head-on. The Lettie Stuart Pottery School project, initiated by Aurora Foundation in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Adult Education Association (SLADEA), seeks to equip young people with the tools they need to enter the creative workforce. The project aims to tackle unemployment and offer a pathway to sustainable livelihoods by providing practical training and fostering technical and creative skills.
The Path to Sustainability
At the heart of this endeavor lies the Lettie Stuart Pottery Center, a hub of creativity that has captured local and international attention. The center, boasting unique high-firing kilns and expert knowledge, stands as a beacon of opportunity in a country with limited specialized training in the arts and crafts professions. The project’s goals encompass two main pillars: providing employment opportunities for young individuals and ensuring the sustainability of the Lettie Stuart Pottery Center.
The project’s multi-faceted approach includes teaching, running the school, expert support, and center improvements. This comprehensive strategy ensures that participants receive a quality education while simultaneously enhancing the operational capacity of the center. The involvement of an Icelandic potter and ceramics teacher adds a crucial element of expertise, further elevating the training quality.
Aligning with National Development Goals and SDGs
The project’s vision harmoniously aligns with Sierra Leone’s Medium-term National Development Plan and multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By addressing challenges of youth unemployment and providing technical education, the initiative resonates with SDG 4 (Quality Education) and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth). Additionally, the project’s commitment to gender equality and environmental responsibility contributes to SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), respectively.
Unlocking Potential Through Training and Entrepreneurship
The Lettie Stuart Pottery School project seeks to make a lasting impact on young people in Sierra Leone. By training a cohort of eight students, the initiative offers practical skills and a pathway to immediate employment, either within the center itself or through entrepreneurial ventures. The project’s emphasis on gender parity in recruitment underscores its commitment to breaking down societal barriers and empowering women in the creative sector.
Furthermore, the project envisions graduates not only as skilled employees but also as potential business owners. With training in the production of pottery items, graduates could tap into local demand, driving economic growth within their communities and challenging stereotypes surrounding creative arts as viable livelihoods.
A Stepping Stone to a Brighter Future
Sierra Leone’s journey toward progress is exemplified through initiatives like this, where innovation, training, and creativity converge to pave the way for a brighter future. With each piece of pottery shaped, the Lettie Stuart Pottery School project not only crafts artworks but also shapes the destiny of young individuals, one skill at a time.
As we anticipate the project’s commencement in fall 2023, it stands as a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and the enduring potential of human ingenuity. The Aurora Foundation’s commitment to driving positive change in Sierra Leone’s creative sector showcases the profound impact that determined vision and dedicated support can have on shaping nations and transforming lives.
In the coming years, the Lettie Stuart Pottery School project is poised to illuminate a new path for Sierra Leone’s youth, one where skills blossom, opportunities flourish, and creativity knows no bounds.
By Guðbjörg Lára Másdóttir