At last, school has started! Schools in Niger were closed for about 45 days from December through mid-January because of the pandemic, but finally, we were able to open the weaving school. The school is set up under the new weaving shed with five traditional looms. There are ten students who attend class five days a week from 8 AM until 1 PM. They are picked up from their homes via a van hired by the school. Thanks to your help, all training, transportation, and supplies are provided free of charge to the students.
We are also continuing with longer range plans. We are having discussions with Andreas Moeller about bringing his Flying8 loom technology to the school. Andreas has invented an eight-harness loom with a flying shuttle that can be built from supplies readily available in marketplaces in third world countries. These looms have features that make them useful for production weaving in a range of weave structures. He is graciously working with us to develop an affordable method to transfer his technology to us.
Thanks to your generous support DIMA raised enough money in its GlobalGiving campaign to build the shed to house the new weaving school. Construction was completed in late September. The first loom has been installed and four more will be installed by the middle of October. Potential weaving students have been interviewed and 10 students have been selected. DIMA plans to start training around the end of October.
During the summer a group of weavers in the United States purchased a production floor loom for the school. It arrived in Niamey in early September. After the weaving students master the traditional looms, DIMA plans to train them on the floor looms.
In conjunction with the GlobalGiving campaign, DIMA established a simple shop for weavings on its website. In early September, NPR (National Public Radio), published an article on Soumana Saley, DIMA's president, and the weaving school. The article led to two purchases of weavings from the shop as well as additional donations through GlobalGiving.
We look forward to sharing future progress with the school. We are grateful for what your help has made possible.
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