The name combines the word for "House" in the local Wolof language with the English word Toolbox, symbolically referring to the international nature of the project.
Matthieu and Tim will return to Dakar in the autumn of this year. They will spend a week painting and renovating the space, including new benches, storage units and tools. They will stay a second week to host four carefully chosen travelers. These people pay for a package that includes lodging, food and instruction. Using our new space, they will learn from local jewelers and have time to practice what they have seen in visits to jewelers in the area.
In April 2017, our sister program, Toolbox Travel, returned to Senegal with six jewelers who joined us to deliver donated tools. During this trip Matthieu and Tim met with four landlords to view available workshops in the Artisanal Village of Dakar, the capitol and largest city in Senegal.
We arranged a demonstration by our friend Modibo Ballo and were offered the use of a shop in the center of the village. This confirmed our intuition — this was the kind of space we needed. Matthieu approached the owner, a jeweler named Montaga Cissoko, and negotiated an arrangement that works well for all parties. We will refurbish the space, build new benches and outfit the shop with tools. Mr. Cissoko’s two sons will have use of the space and tools when we are not in residence. In this way the workshop remains active, we support local craftsmen, and connect with the Artisanal Village community.
It is also our intention to create the opportunity for local jewelers to share their techniques with other African jewelers, including people from neighboring countries. Knowledge and experience have no boundaries. We see the Keur Toolbox as a space where sharing among artists is multidirectional.