"I followed a friend who used to visit a craft village and became interested in carving. Since then, I've mastered this craft and trained three people."
Update (July, 2019)
“Turning and turning…
“My name is Winfred Okoampah, a wood carver who joined NOVICA 3 years ago.
In the beginning, working with Novica was very hectic, because NOVICA quality is top notch and most of my pieces were rejected. But now that I'm familiar with NOVICA's way of doing things, it is much better. It has even translated into my personal works that I sell in my shop.
“With NOVICA, the life of my family has also improved. My kids’ school fees are now well paid, and it has lessened hardship for me and my family. Before, paying my ward fees was painful, but with the sales I make from NOVICA I can access money to pay for it comfortably. My children can now raise their heads high.
“Though I still work in the same place, I have been able to expand in scale with loans provided by NOVICA. I am able to purchase materials to produce new samples in large scale and replenishment. In my workshop, I have employed 2 men who work on a part-time basis when I get large orders.
Original Artisan Story
"My name is Winfred Ansah Okoampah and I was born in Eastern Ghana in 1970. I am a woodcarver. My friends describe me as innocent and serious about work. I hate cheating.
"My dad died when I six years old and it has been very difficult since then. I lived with an uncle who was a farmer. He didn't have enough money to help me to send me to school.
"After I completed fourth grade in 1989, I couldn't continue my education because I didn't have the money for it. I followed a friend who used to visit a craft village and became interested in carving. Since then, I've mastered this craft and trained three people.
"My favorite part about this work is the finishing. The most challenging part is the sanding.
"For my carvings, I find inspiration in my dreams. I use sese wood and acrylic paint. My community benefits from my work by using the scraps from my carvings as firewood.
"A difficult moment in my life was when I fell sick and it took me seven months to recover. I lost a child during that period, but I have managed with the help of God and overcame that.
"A moment that makes me laugh was when a Chinese man came to my shop to buy a carving, but couldn't speak English. We had to negotiate the price by writing on a paper and settled at an agreed price."