Lettie Stuart Pottery is a unique place, not only in Sierra Leone but in all of West Africa, as it is one of very few places that is capable of producing high-fired pottery. It was founded by the Sierra Leone Adult Education Association (SLADEA) and named after Dr Lettie Stuart the founder of SLADEA. It was established to help adults and youth who hadn´t received formal education, to acquire the necessary skills to be employed as potters.
Foday Thoronka is a tailor in Freetown. Foday has acquired new skills from training received through Aurora Foundation. Working as a tailor producing Sweet Salone products has helped him to save enough income to build his own house from a single room to multiple rooms and he is now planning to build a dedicated tailoring shop.
Hidden behind the Tourist Board of Sierra Leone facility off Lumley Beach is a small market called Lumley Beach Market. Here you can find various goods and souvenirs made by both the sellers in the market and other artisans across the country and sent to Freetown.
Brama town is located 30km south of Freetown, with just over 700 habitants. Basket weaving is one of the main economic activities in the area, alongside vegetable production. The group of weavers is headed by the Chief of Brama Town, Samuel Walker Mansaray, who taught most of the others the traditional art of basket weaving.
Mariatu Koroma Textile Weaver
& Alusine Bangura Tailor
Mariatu is a textile weaver and a mother of four children. She is based in Grafton, outside Freetown. There she has her weaving loom amidst her community of kontri kloth weavers. She is the main weaver for all the Green Giraffe products. Alusine is a tailor with grand ambitions and is currently also attending university. He has been the leading tailor for the Green Giraffe products, and that is how he has been able to finance his university education.
Ibrahim Kallon, originally from Freetown, is a textile weaver. At the age of 12, Ibrahim’s grandfather insisted that young Ibrahim join him every day after school and assist him in the practice of weaving. While he did not see the benefits of learning this traditional skill at that age, he could not be more grateful today for his grandfather’s persistence. Unlike many of his peers, he has the means to earn an income. Today Ibrahim Kallon can be found weaving in a small building adjacent to the Lumley Arts and Crafts Market, but only on his days off from university.
- CANDLE HOLDERS
- Dying the cotton used in weaving the pillows and blankets
Mariatu Koroma Textile Weaver &
Alusine Bangura Tailor
Quotes from Our Artisans
Dorcas James, Lettie Stuart Pottery
“[Working with Aurora] has changed so many things in my life, I was a woman with a child, my sister and my mother were also looking to me. I have been able to manage my family. Before, my kids might sit at home when we don’t have school fees, but now with my little things I can always pay for them and the other things they need for school. People have respect for me because they see me go in the morning and come back in the evening. Now I am not depending on anyone. I see myself as a great woman. I am proud of myself.”
Lamin Kamara, Brama Town
“I pay my children’s school fees, school materials, and feeding from the money I make weaving baskets. From my weaving I sponsor my vegetable gardening. At first [my community] was looking at us funny because we were doing traditional skills, now they see they can make money.”
Massah Dukalay, Lumley Arts and Crafts Market
“This work has changed my life, has changed my story. Before I was in a panbodi (tin) house, now I am in a block house. Even now I want to buy my own land. I want to save my money so I am able to buy land. Even in my shop people admire me because my shop is better than it was before because I have money to buy good products. Even in my area people ask where I get my money. I tell them I work hard for it.”
Amie Julius, Lumley Arts and Crafts Market
“With Aurora we have learned a lot, that we need to be creative and focused. Aurora has empowered us. Aurora is an example to teach us to be serious and focused on our business. Now I don’t depend on someone I only depend on myself. I work hard because that is how I will be paid. Now I have more money than before, and I have smart phone that I can research things myself.”