It’s not about charity. It’s all about SHARITY. << FOLORUNSHO
Sierra Leone is one of the richest and poorest countries in the world – rich in resources, culture, history, character and beautiful people. Yet at the same time the 10 year war took its toll on the society, the economy and the infrastructure. The war destroyed family structures and took what was dear away from people, forcing many to live a life in the streets of Freetown fighting for their survival while holding onto the hope of a better future.
This description sounded rather intriguing and a friendship developed out of my curiosity. The mutual respect superseded and neither have I ever gotten robbed or harmed. Their individual stories touched me and left a mark on me, that I was unable ignore.
What makes these guys so special? The fact that their circumstances were very different from mine, not only enabled me to learn from them, but also put things into perspective, things that we take for granted. They made me understand how strong a human being and how grand the soul is. I don’t believe in charity as it only creates inferiority and dependency, so the idea was to be creative and productive and to push the boundaries. Observing their innate creativity and talents I realized I am able to contribute some thing to their lives by serving as a bridge between their creativity and the rest of the world.
The majority of the boys had been living in the streets from a very early age on; some were as young as 3 or 5 years old. Thus most did not have the privilege of going to school and learn even the basics of reading and writing. The proceeds from the 1st sneaker collaboration between FOLORUNSHO and K1X in 2011, enabled the boys to hire a private teacher that taught them how to read and write. In November 2011 twenty-one boys, aged 14-22, moved from LION BASE into two apartments, which they rented from the proceeds of the sneaker sales. After more than 6 months of private tuition fifteen of the boys started to go to school; Patrick and A Fame graduated from school in 2012 and are now attending college.
Ever since the boys discuss their future instead of merely focusing on day-to-day survival. The consequences of their personal growth are many, But most importantly they won a battle against social and environmental exclusion.
>> So far we have been blessed with creativity, opportunities and support from angels that came our way. It enabled us to realize some pretty awesome projects and unique hand made products. 2011 has been a very eventful year full of creativity: we created the super stylish FOLORUNSHO x K1X BATIK sneakers, a limited edition of hand embroidered Jeans shirts in collaboration with LEE Jeans. In November 2011we filmed a short movie THE RISING OF THE SON directed by musician Patrice, filmed by acclaimed visual artist Barron Claiborne and cinematographer Shawn Peters and edited by no other than the Academy Award nominee Anne Sophie Bion. We took part in JR’s ‘Inside-Out’ art project and we published a photo diary book that documents the development and transformation of 21 lives into the amazing artist they are today. The jewelry line that we created best represents who and what we are: I’M POSSIBLE.