AAF! is an acronym for Amsterdam Africa Fashion!
It was set up by Marije who moved from the Netherlands to Liberia at the end of 2017. She enjoys living in Liberia, a beautiful but also extremely poor country. Marije wanted to contribute something to people in Liberia, but not by setting up another charity. She preferred supporting existing Liberian-run businesses, projects and schools. Through AAF! she supports both tailors, local market (wo)men and a vocational training centre. Marije: “It is actually quite a simple concept. The more bags we sell, the more income is provided to market women and tailors, as there is more work to produce the AAF! bags and the higher the amount we can contribute to the vocational training centre.”
Tailors and Market (wo)men
Currently AAF! is working with three tailors, who receive an above average price for the production of the bags. This helps them to support their families, and as customary in Liberia, provide support for their communities. The various materials, like zippers, stiffing and of course the colourful lappa fabrics for the AAF! bags are purchased locally at the Waterside Market in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. Through this , AAF! supports the local market (wo)men.
This is Mr. Bah, one of the tailors who produces bags for AAF!. Mr. Bah is a single dad of three children. He lives with this family in a one room apartment behind his atelier. He is hard working and does as much work as he can, in order to keep his children in school. The also trains some some youth from his community for free. Mr. Bah: “At this point it is better to learn a trade so you can have an income, rather than going to study for a number of years.” Mr. Bah dreams of having his own factory where he can oversee a number of tailors. With the income he gets from the production of AAF! bags he is renovating his apartment. “I want to provide a good home and a secure a better future for my children.”