Meet The Artisans

Learn about the women behind the AfriNotes products

In collaboration with the Ripples Foundation USA via the Women’s Enterprise Programs, participants are trained in sustainable farming, spice production to handmaking products like pottery, lotions and creams, jewelry, and clothing.

The Sewing Project based in Nigeria, focuses on teaching women the skills necessary to make a variety of clothing styles for women, men and children. The AfriNotes products are produced by many of these women. Plus, most notably, many are taught the history and traditional methods for making textile known as Adire. To learn more about the program and artisans, check out their stories below.

How It All Got Started: The Story of Chief Nike, President of Ripples Foundation Nigeria

Image of Chief Nike

In 1996, Chief (Mrs.) Oyenike Monica Okundaye, Nike for short, was walking through her local village, Osogbo, when she noticed a number of unaccompanied young women wandering around the neighborhood. She quickly realized these young women had nowhere to go and no one to turn to for help. As a trained textile artist and painter, Chief Nike, took them in, offering the young women food, accommodations, and education, all in her own home. There Chief Nike shared her knowledge and expertise in making textiles with them, creating a pathway out of poverty by the use of their own hands to earn a good living through art.

To date, Chief Nike has touched the lives of over 3,000 young Nigerian women, training and helping them develop the skills necessary for sustaining a dignified living in the arts. Over the last 24 years, the program has grown to include an Arts Center in Chief Nike’s name. Today, a renowned program for its expertise in “Adire” fabric processing and traditional African dyeing methods, the center hosts researchers and students from across Africa as well as Europe and the USA.

In collaboration with the Women’s Enterprise Programs through the Ripples Foundation USA, they developed the Sewing Project to invest in future generations of women across Nigeria. Learn more about Chief Nike’s life and journey – all the while empowering young women across Africa.

Your support in the form of a purchase may seem small, but it supports and empowers the next generation of young women in Nigeria. EMPOWER A WOMAN, CHANGE A NATION.

Shop AfriNotes today. Find handcrafted jewelry, African attire, and accessories. Feel good while looking good!

See some of the artisans here.

Fabrics made in the traditional method of Adire, carry special meaning.  Each panel tells a story, tradition or history. In this video, Chief Nike is sharing her knowledge and expertise with the newest participants of the Ripples Foundation Women’s Enterprise Program, the Sewing Project Nigeria.

Meet Zabaga Sulemana

Image of artisan

PROJECT:  Dulzugu shea butter processing center

ENROLLMENT YEAR:  2019

BENEFIT FROM RIPPLES:  This is my first time participating in a shea butter production training. The training would help many of us who always produce poor quality shea butter. The trainer made us see how a kneading machine can take over the stress of sitting for hours to knead shea butter.

CHANGES TO LIFE:  We wish Ripples foundation can get us a kneading machine at our processing center, I believe with the kneading machine, I can increase my production from 2 bags a week to 10 bags a week . I am so impressed with what I have learnt from Ripples. 

Meet Fuseina Yakubu

PROJECT:  Gumo Shea butter processing center

ENROLLMENT YEAR:  2018

NO OF CHILDREN: 7 children, 5 children in school

BENEFIT FROM RIPPLES:  I joined the Ripples program in 2018, I have participated in some of Ripples training. I like Ripples training because it is practical, you can easily practice on your own after the training.

CHANGES TO LIFE:  I started to produce shea butter for the past 8 years. The business is very helpful to me and my household, I support my children’s education, provide food for the house and still able to make savings. With Ripples, I have learnt how to roasts crushed nuts using charcoal and how to boil shea butter using charcoal. I saw the difference when you wash the kernels three times compared to my usual way of washing only once. I was shocked to see that sorting the nuts really makes a big difference on the quality and quantity of the shea butter even after boiling, a very small amount of the waste remains in the pot. The butter looks very neat and the production procedures look simply.

Meet Samata Alhassan

PROJECT:  Salamba from Shea butter processing center

ENROLLMENT YEAR:  2019

BENEFIT FROM RIPPLES:  I have learned many new things from Ripples training – This is the first time I have seen a kneading machine. They demonstrated to us how to wash the shea kernels, check the presence of moisture in the butter during the second boiling. The filtering was interesting to learn about because I have never done it that way. I have never taught shea butter can be produced under charcoal fire.

CHANGES TO LIFE:  I have learnt many new things today. This is the first time I have seen a kneading machine. They demonstrated to us how to wash the shea kernels, check the presence of moisture in the butter during the second boiling. The filtering was interesting to learn about because I have never done it that way. I have never taught shea butter can be produced under charcoal fire. The sorting was well illustrated to us. I believe when I go home, I can explain and demonstrate how to process quality shea butter to my group members.