Supporting Malian Refugees

Since early 2012, an estimated 34,000 Malians have fled to Burkina Faso to escape violence in their country. Many products featured on Nasara were made by master artisans who were forced to flee.

The conflict in Mali has forced almost 200,000 people in Mali to escape their homes,almost 20% of those making the dangerous journey to safety in Burkina Faso. With a rich tradition of craftsmen and artists from Mali, many refugees who happen to be artisans were able to continue with their craft.

At the Village Artisanal in Ouagadougou, many Malian refugees can be found carrying on with their craftwork that has been handed on from generation to generation. Silversmiths, leatherworkers, and textile artisans can be found continuing on with their craft.

Before the outbreak of the war in Mali, there were many people to sell to, both locally and to tourists. After war began, it became virtually impossible to continue working. Due to violence, families were forced to flee to refugee camps, where they could not continue working.

Now in Burkina Faso, these artisans are organizing into associations, sharing tasks in accordance with each craftsman’s level of skill, in order to achieve the high quality production of an item. Some specialize in the application of leather to wood, others in hammering and polishing silver. With the income they make artisans continue to invest in their associations, buying high quality raw materials to enable their craft.

The profit they make is often sent back to family members still living in refugee camps, to feed family members and to help older children get to high school.

Artisans in Burkina Faso train and work in team. By building on their traditional skills, talented Malian refugees in Burkina Faso are using their traditions handed out over generations to rebuild their lives.

Consider purchasing hammered metal and leather bowls, hammered metal and leather cuffs, and a variety of sterling silver Tuareg jewelry and support Malian refugee artisans and their families.

On top of that, any profit made at Nasara is donated to support girls education programs through Create Change Foundation.













First photo: Vincenzo Cardile photography