The Aurora Foundation, Sierra Leone – A dynamic catalyst for development and culture

Exclusive Author Event -11-10-2023

On Wednesday 11th October, 2023 from 5.30pm, I will be at the Aurora Foundation offices, 186 Wilkinson Road, Opposite Lumley Police Station, Freetown, Sierra Leone.   We are delivering an Exclusive Author Event with myself and Ishmael Beah.  In addition to their renowned Sierra Leonean Home Goods, they are now also selling books by Sierra Leonean authors!

The Aurora Foundation and I share many values, they aim to be a dynamic catalyst in development and culture, by executing projects that provide a robust and permanent boost to communities.  Like me, they believe in the free and creative spirit of the mind. Their vision is to nurture and cultivate this spirit in order to improve and enrich people’s lives and to be a dynamic catalyst for development and culture, by executing projects that provide a robust and permanent boost to communities.  Last week I visited some Aurora Foundations initiatives to see first hand their amazing work which I have heard so much about.

High-fired pottery from Sierra Leone

Lettie Stuart Pottery is a unique place in Sierra Leone and all of West Africa, as it is one of the few places capable of producing high-fired pottery. It was founded in 2008 by the Sierra Leone Adult Education Association (SLADEA) and named after Dr. Lettie Stuart, the founder of SLADEA. It was a three-year training course established to help adults and youth without formal education acquire the necessary skills to be employed as potters.

Among the students that graduated were Brima Koroma, Mohamed A Sesay, and Fatmata Lakoh, and they were expected to run the facility after the training course was completed. However, with little experience running a facility and no substantial training, the center slowly deteriorated, and little funds were gathered to maintain it.

In 2018 Aurora Foundation began working in partnership with the center, starting with center improvements in their infrastructure and equipment. As well, a new 18-month training program was established to recruit and train more potters.  I heard this week how this month October 2023, an 18month pottery school will launch to train 8 more potters. Today Aurora Foundation is still supporting the center to improve equipment and the surroundings to create a better work environment for the employees and to enable higher production levels.  I was also pleased to hear that due to the quality of the clay they are producing high quality cooking stoves.   When you have finished reading this blog, please do visit their shop.

Development comes with initiatives that eliminate hindrances to people’s choices and opportunities to realise their humanity and individual talents.  Culture is the richest manifestation of human liberty. The cultivation of human capacities brings meaning and hope where deprivation hampers development. The Aurora Foundation was created by Ingibjörg Kristjánsdóttir, landscape architect and her husband Ólafur Ólafsson,entrepreneur and investor. It was formally established on 23 January 2007, Ólafur’s 50th birthday. The Aurora Foundation initial capital was ISK one billion (approx. 14M USD), which was donated by the founders.

The Foundation’s annual disposable income is interest income and other returns on initial capital, and other funds that the Foundation may acquire. The Aurora Foundation is a non-profit organization that operates according to a confirmed Charter.  Please do check out their website

Looking forward to the event next week.




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