Couture, Yennengas textile training programme

The colossal building site, where the new Slussen traffic carousel will emerge, has not only resulted in a tourist attraction in its own  right but also that you for the moment cannot literally look at products from Nakamtenga.

A very strange relatedness!? Actually not, since 2010, in the very middle of Slussen, the shop Just Africa has displayed design and artefacts from Burkina Faso. But the shop has, figuratively speaking, been engulfed by the builders and for the time being only exists as a webshop.

And here we jump to a letter several years ago from a group of young women in Nakamtenga. They expressed how they needed more in their lives than just running families and farming, they wanted an education and an income of their own. This led to the start in 2013 of Yennenga Couture, a textile training programme for a group of women aged 17 to 39.

Private donations from Sweden started coming in the form of fabrics (mostly old bed linen and curtains), second hand sewing machines and other tools. Today, there is a permanent textile workshop with all necessary equipment and the materiel is being purchased locally plus now and then comes in more boxes from Sweden.

The eight women deployed at the workshop not only learnt how to sew, they also became creative designers, sharing ideas with others both in Sweden and in the capital Ouagadougou. They get paid for what they actually sell but to secure sustainability, the studio needs a manager who can support the others, lead and plan, search for customers and develop new products.

And the guarantee, who has made this process possible, is MIKAs, probably Sweden’s most well known model agency. Since 2016, they have been responsible for the salary of Leocadie Soalla, who heads the textile studio. MIKAs has played a vital role in giving the young ladies in Nakamtenga a reputation of a much higher quality than what one normally finds in rural Sahel.

Not least is Yennenga Couture today well known in the area as a producer of school uniforms. But the clientele is expanding, they instantly tailor make clothes for Nakamtenga visitors and receive a growing number of private orders and also knit and sew for Just Africa. And they are looking for more customers – also from overseas!