Welcome to our global maker-to-market movement where, together with 20,000 artisans, we ignite social change. We create opportunities for individuals, families, and communities in developing countries to thrive through strong relationships, fair wages, safe working conditions, and sustainable practices.
African beauties dance in celebration in this wall hanging from Burkina Faso. The colors and textures of this wall-hanging are achieved through the ancient technique of batik dying which starts by hand-tracing an original design on a light but sturdy fabric. Hot wax and dye are expertly applied in an alternating process of adding color to certain places while preserving other areas with the wax. At the end of the process, all of the wax is removed to reveal the finished design.
HANDCRAFTED IN BURKINA FASO
Atelier de Bronze Bonkoungou et Frère specializes in the traditional technique of lost wax bronze casting. The workshop leader, Issouf Bonkoungou learned the ancient technique from his father and from a retired master artisan by the name of Sissao Hamidou whom Ten Thousand Villages began purchasing from in 1996. Mr. Hamidou was instrumental in the formation of the first artisan enterprise for bronze casting in the area, Antelier de Formation et de Promotion des Artisans in 2013 with aid from MCC Burkina Faso, a relief, development and peace agency of the North American Mennonite and Brethren in Christ. He continued training artisans in the craft and selling lost wax statues to Ten Thousand Villages until his retirement in 2021 when he passed the secure buying relationship on to Mr. Bonkoungou and Atelier de Bronze Bonkoungou. Ten Thousand Villages is the only advanced payment, bulk order buyer for Mr. Bonkoungou’s family and dozen other craftspeople working with him—fair trade has made a living wage possible in this marginalized area for more than two decades.