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Africa Heartwood Project is a registered 501(c)3 Public Charity #26-2457812 in the United States effective January 7, 2008, also a registered NGO in Ghana effective October 17, 2008.
All donations, contributions, and gifts are tax deductible under IRS code 170
.

www.AfricaHeartwoodProject.org

We're fighting poverty and changing lives, and you can help.
Click to make a donation with your drum purchase at DjembeDirect.com!

Click for information about the World Music Benefit Concert fundraising events in Salt Lake City

 

The Drums...

Drums with heart. Drums that make a difference. Drums that were and are part of something living, dynamic, eternal. Each Heartwood djembe is a symbol of hope and sacrifice and partnership. In a market based economy where the imperative is to maximize profit at any cost, Africa Heartwood Project is using the free market as a humanitarian tool to generate sustainable livlihoods for hard-working artisans in West Africa who otherwise would not have access to markets large enough to provide for their families. With a long-term commitment to individual drum and instrument builders, AHP has given hundreds of hours of skills training and business mentorship, helped extend micro-loans and donated funds valuing thousands of dollars to purchase tools, buy land, build workshops, and purchase raw materials, and has helped to established solid distribution channels that will ensure that the artisans can count on income next month, next year, and through to the next generation. African Heartwood Project labors on behalf of the entrepreneurial artisans to keep their hands busy, bellies full, and hope alive.

 

 

The Story

The seed that grew into Africa Heartwood Project was planted in the hearts of Andy Jones and Kayla Thompson during their engagement in the fall of 1999. The desire for a "humanitarian honeymoon" landed them in a Liberian refugee camp between Accra and Cape Coast, Ghana. The circumstances at Buduburam were so deplorable that the efforts they made to identify, provide food for, and matriculate in school some orphan refugee children seemed very small; yet to help in even a very small way required great effort, notwithstanding the support of Andrew Wreh LDS Charities, and others.

In between efforts over three months at the camp, Andy and Kayla spent time in Koforidua at a Unit School for the Deaf where a friend was working with the Peace Corps, in Accra in the company of missionary service couples, and in Peki, Dzake where they became acquantied with a community of drum builders and family of Ghanaian master drummers. While staying with the Lawrence Nkulenu and Isaak Tedeku families Andy and Kayla tasted the joy of the Ewe dance and drum culture: building drums by day, singing and dancing by night, and learning from the children and aged throughout. After the Jones' return to university in the U.S. they received many communications from their new Ghanaian friends, some of which suggested the possibility of having them help sell percussion instruments as a means of providing livlihoods for the drum builders. Andy and Kayla, willing to do what they could to help, started receiving small quantities of drums and selling them for the Ghanaian carvers to music stores, to friends and family, and through the internet, and sending money back to Ghana. Over the next four years this continued on a very small scale with logistics help from Erik Allebest, while Andy completed post-graduate work in England and Kayla gave attention to a growing family.

After completing their education Andy and Kayla decided to dedicate their full-time attention to this endeavor and see if it could be taken to scale, made sustainable on Ghanaian terms and financially viable in the U.S.. The present-day collaboration between Africa Heartwood Project and Djembe Direct, along with many other wholesale and retail partners, is a current iteration of those efforts. Gratefully, some level of success has been attained, despite the enormous learning curve and obstacles that have and continue to present themselves in terms of import logistics, purchase contracts and distribution, and human resources. Andy is involved in the day-to-day operation of the project, working closely with African drum builders and exporters and their partners. Kayla, along with their children Simon, Ruby, Charlie, and Ivy, continue to be supportive cheerleaders and African dance and drum enthusiasts.

Make a Difference

Africa Heartwood Project is a registered 501(c)3 public charity in the US, and a registered NGO in Ghana. The main focus of AHP is to facilitate ongoing drum and craft production by select carvers and artisans in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Guinea, and Senegal, thus providing a sustainable livlihood for the carvers, their families, and those they work with locally. This is accomplished by helping carvers to: source working capital for purchasing of raw materials and equipment; build instruments that meet market demands in terms of quality and variety; successfully manage their cottage enterprises with basic business administration and communication skills; foster existing and build new relationships with vendors and small and large scale importers and distributors primarily in North America and Europe. Every drum purchased from DjembeDirect.com or any of our other retail and wholesale partners supports the efforts of Africa Heartwood Project and allows more drums to be purchased from the African artisans, thus using the free market as a means of producing income for the carvers and fighting poverty one drum at a time. The bottom line: Simply purchasing a Heartwood drum anywhere is making a meaningful contribution to the success and perpetuation of the Project!

In addition to drum-purchase contributions, funds are being collected from willing donors and customers to finance the humanitarian projects that AHP has been connected to from the beginning. A current list of Heartwood projects can be found here. Schools, churches, and community groups are encouraged to hold fundraisers for supporting our endeavors to make a real, lasting difference in the lives of individuals and communities in Ghana. Andy and Kayla, and Africa Heartwood Project give a personal guarantee that 100% of donated funds will be used directly to carry out the selected project(s), with all overhead being covered out of pocket or through sponsorship of partners, and zero being used to cover administrative or managerial expenses. Many projects require a critical sum of funds before action can be taken, so donated funds are held in separate accounts to ensure their integrity and proper allocation.

This AHP model is based on a variety of project-based small-scale development practices which have been found to be successful in many communities in Africa and other developing regions. The foundation: local, sustainable resources (including raw materials and labor); appropriate technology that doesn't require expensive maintenance or ongoing education; voluntary income redistribution through free-market priciples (rather than through forced taxation); self-determination and self-reliance on the part of the beneficiary instrument makers; global partnership and knowledge transfer that is mutually beneficial; trickle-up and trickle-down effects apply (as cottage industries grow their tax contributions grow - thus strengthening local, regional, and national municipal agencies, and lateral purchases from local vendors strengthens the village economy and inter-dependency); global awareness building through those drummers who experience first-hand the richness and beauty of West African musical and instrumental cultures.

Africa Heartwood Project would like to thank DjembeDirect.com for their generosity in incorporating our efforts so whole-heartedly into this website. Thank you!

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	  dundun, djembe case, dunun drum, djembe tuning, how to play djembe, children djembe, djembe book, djembe DVD
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	  dundun, djembe case, dunun drum, djembe tuning, how to play djembe, children djembe, djembe book, djembe DVD
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	  dundun, djembe case, dunun drum, djembe tuning, how to play djembe, children djembe, djembe book, djembe DVD
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	  dundun, djembe case, dunun drum, djembe tuning, how to play djembe, children djembe, djembe book, djembe DVD

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