Savalou is a small town in central Benin. In Gratien Gbaguidi’s sewing workshop underprivileged children from the areas around Savalou are given the
opportunity to become a professional tailor. They are offered three years of training, and after having successfully completed the training program with a certificate, they are provided with their own sewing machine. In this way they can start their own tailor workshop and become financially independent.
Gratiën is gifted with limitless energy and an entrepreneurial spirit. He has a key role in ONG-AJP, a local foundation we have chosen to cooperate with.
This Foundation focuses on the following activities:
- stimulating existing workshops to offer young people a cheap, good workplace and professional training
- offering additional [supplementary kan ook wel, maar additional is makkelijker als woord] training to the instructors
- supporting young people to establish their own workshops by providing them with starter packets
- offering literacy programs
In Benin it is customary for workshop owners to demand for trainings huge amounts of money from their trainees. Subsequently, during their three-year training the trainees work all these years without receiving any financial compensation and upon completion of their traineeship must pay a lot of money to be granted a certificate. Tailor Gbaguidi and teacher Romain Alapini felt concerned about the dead-end situation of the large numbers of young people hanging around out in the streets, with no basic education, work or vocational training and with little prospect of ever having a financially independent existence. In 2008 they decided to take action and founded the ONG-AJP (Organisation non gouvermentale- Association pour une Jeunesse Professionnelle).
The purpose of this Foundation is to fight unemployment and poverty, focusing on underprivileged boys and girls from Savalou and nearby villages. The Foundation offers them vocational training (hairdresser, tailor, carpenter, car mechanic orwelder) and helps the young to start their own businesses by providing them with the necessary materials once they have been granted their certificate. During the trainings the instructors have frequent contact with the parents to convince them of the importance of a good education.
We support the above project, by acting as go-between in the sale of products made by the apprentices in the sewing workshop.
From scraps of fabric they make garlands and bags which are for sale in
- our webshop
- the shops in Tropenmuseum/Amsterdam, Museum Volkenkunde/Leiden, Wereldmuseum/Rotterdam and Afrikamuseum/Berg&Dal
- The Africa shop in Africamuseum / Tervuren (Belgium)
Furthermore, in our webshop we also sell design items made by ourselves under the name of SACSAC. The proceeds from the sales of all products will be fully for the benefit of our NGO Kind in Benin.