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Workshop Tuma Viela

The workshop was created for women and unemployed youngsters. At the moment, 16 people work in de workshop: 13 women and 3 men. On Saturdays and during school holidays, 2 pupils from a school for special education and 2 youngsters from a school for the deaf come in to help. This is the minimal amount of workers we need, because there are so many different aspects to the production process. Workers  earn 5.50 GH a day, which is about 2 euro, depending on the going rates.

In stead of hanging around in the streets, kids get the chance to learn a trade, with us.

The workshop is set up in a traditional compound house. We rent eight rooms here, and production takes place in four of them. The ladies who wash and dry the sachets work on the veranda and only come in when it rains. Luckily, we are blessed with dry and sunny weather most of the time.
We also have space to store the sachets that come in. If our numbers in stock grow too large, we sell them and they are shipped to China to be recycled and made into jerseys and jeans.


When children hand in their sachets, they get to pick their own products in our shop. They look in amazement at all the great stuff that is on display and stacked on the shelves.
The last room serves as a classroom. We invite the children to take place here when they visit the workshop and educate them on the environment: how they can keep Tamale clean and free of litter. Wonderful conversations take place here and our special litter song is sung lustily by all, accompanied by the guitar.

The workshop is situated in the oldest part of Tamale and if we need to explain to people how to find us, we usually say: 'Behind that house where they sell junk, in between the public lavatory and the mosque, where all those unemployed kids hang around.' At that, everybody knows exactly what we're talking about. It's a working-class neighbourhood that doesn't particularly have a good name... but it has a distinctive character!


The process from water sachet to end product knows many stages and is rather labour-intensive. First, the sachets are cut open, washed and laid out to dry in the sun. Then they are folded up smoothly and packed into boxes. The seamstresses unpack these boxes, quick as lightning, and sew the sachets together one by one to form long strips. The trips are then sewn together into large pieces of plastic sachets. De patterns are laid out on these pieces, traced, and cut out. All these parts are then sewn together to form bags and other articles. Eventually, they become the wonderful products that we are so proud of.




Sponsors from the Netherlands made it possible to establish the workshop.
'Tuma Viela' purchased a few sewing machines, some

were donated, and a number of workers work on their own sewing machine. Most of the machines are driven by hand or a foot pedal. We have a few electrical sewing machines, but they can be a problem when there's a power shortage, which happens all too often.
The 'Tuma Viela' team are a group of hard working people who make sure, together, that the children's great demands can be met.