The NGO Dima is a school aimed at helping young people who are out of school learn a trade like leather making or sewing. With 49 students ages 15-19, the children must share the sewing machines. We are in need of more machines to enable all the children to have their own machine to receive proper education of their trade.
This is the story of Soumana Saley, Master Leather Craftsman-- For years I have dreamt of creating a school to promote the craft trades and to preserve the art of Niger. At the age of 11, I began training with a master leather craftsman to learn the trade. The next seven years were spent studying and replicating his every move, obtaining master status myself by the age 18. I spent the rest of my adult life traveling throughout West Africa and Europe practicing my trade. I eventually settled in the United States in November of 2008.
The dream of creating the school came to me in 2013. How could I give back to my native country for instilling the values of creativity and hard work into my life? How could I assure that the traditional art of Niger did not die along with the current generation of artisans? How could I ensure that the children were given the opportunity to support themselves and obtain basic education along with trade training? For the next two years I would network with my fellow artisans from Niger and hold meeting after meeting with many Ministers in Niger.
On September 21, 2015 all my dreams became reality. ONG DIMA was accredited by the government! We had their permission to open the school and begin educating our youth. In September 2017 we opened the school’s doors and began our first session for the students. We currently provide the program to 49 students. These students are age 15 to 19 and will complete a 3 year apprenticeship to achieve master status in either tailoring or leatherwork. They receive basic educational skills including reading, writing, arithmetic and basic managerial skills. These skills will allow them to maintain a business upon graduation from the program. The students attend free of charge and are provided transportation and breakfast every day that they attend school.
WIll you please give your support today so that all the children can have their own sewing machine and will receive proper education of their trade?