In this photo, a Touareg tchinadan (woman artisan), is cutting strips of dyed leather which she will then use to make a traditional leather pouch. The Touareg ethnic group is divided into many castes. Among these castes are the Inadan, or craftsmen. These crafts men and women work leather, metal, wood, and stone. They make traditional camel bags and other leather bags, pouches and decorations from dyed leather. They make delicate jewelry out of metal and stone. They fabricate intricate camel saddles and wood spoons. They also make beautifully multicolored woven mats out of dyed reeds, which are used to make traditional Touareg beds, and even the roof of homesteads among the Touaregs of the north. In fact, in the north, a young girl begins making the mats that will be used for her future home once she has wedded as early as she can begin weaving. The inadans are also the “griots” for the Touareg nobles, and can resort to begging without losing their honor; while they are a lower caste, they are not subordinate. They are used as the councils of their leaders, and are respected, revered, and even feared.
Our Kijigari and Ebagueye communities comprise a large population of Inadan families. Amman Imman has worked with woman tchinadans to establish artisan cooperatives, which has enabled them procure materials for their craft-making at an affordable price. These cooperatives have also helped improve their sales both locally, and also nationally, thereby making this traditional revenue generating activity more viable to these women. Amman Imman always prioritizes supporting culturally appropriate and traditional activities in our communities, as we strive to help our indigenous populations retain their ancestral way of life, meanwhile giving them the means to adapt to ever present modern realities and constrictions.
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