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Aurora Foundation is a non-profit organization established in Iceland but mainly operating in Sierra Leone, West Africa, where it has been actively involved with various projects for more than a decade. Despite the country’s incredible beauty and rich resource base, it has one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world. It is a place of charming closely-knit communities where people of various religions live together in peace and harmony.

Like many other African countries, Sierra Leone boasts a rich craft-making tradition, including woodcarving, textiles, basket weaving, and pottery, with an abundance of organic raw materials available. This is one of the reasons why Aurora embarked on its project called Sweet Salone. Salone means Sierra Leone in Krio, which is one of the main languages spoken in Sierra Leone. Sweet Salone is the affectionate nickname the locals have given their own country.

Through this project, Aurora hopes to support the design and crafts industry in Sierra Leone and to help protect traditional craft-making skills and materials that might otherwise disappear. The aim is to simultaneously support the craftspeople of Sierra Leone and broaden the horizons of the international designers. Last but not least, our goal is to create beautiful and valuable objects from sensitive and smart design.

Our main design collaborator is Hugdetta, from Iceland. They have worked together with artisans in Sierra Leone since early 2018 developing beautiful products, mainly bamboo cane products such as woven lamps and baskets, and a range of beautiful ceramic items. Aurora supports the only pottery center in Sierra Leone and has helped it grow and develop over the last four years. It is one of the few pottery centers in Sub-Saharan Africa capable of high firing products. Aurora also assists with running a pottery school to give more young people the opportunity to work in the field of pottery.

Amongst other designers we work with is a Canadian designer based in Sierra Leone that creates beautiful products, such as pillowcases and pouches with Kontri Kloth woven materials. These are upcycled wool and cotton threads woven in a traditional Kontri Kloth method and then sawn into their final product.

The Sweet Salone products are now available in several countries, and this collaboration has given the artisans access to a vital export market, substantially improving their income potential.

All the products are hand-made in Sierra Leone, using locally sourced materials, with all the bamboo cane and clay materials being organically grown and sourced.