Limam Hermassi founded his small handicraft company over ten years ago, in the Feriana region in the economically disadvantaged Kasserine governorate. His specialty is Berber carpets, and Mr Hermassi is passionate about his work. “We make artisan products,” he said, “the word ‘art’ is already there. Handmade crafts need patience and love. We should love what we do. To make these designs and Berber drawings on carpets by hand, you have to love it. I love carpets, that’s why I don’t quit! Even though business slowed, I didn’t quit!”
Artisanal products are iconic in Kasserine, but the breakdown of local vocational training institutions has made it challenging for Mr Hermassi to find qualified employees, despite his desire to hire locally and help the struggling region.
Mr Hermassi met with BRCP’s workforce development team, and the two designed a pre-employment training program for local candidates, engaging a specialized trainer. “I have 16 years of experience making carpets,” explained the trainer Wanessa, “This expertise is priceless. When you know how to do something with your hands, whenever you are in need, you already this skill. You just have to make the effort.” The weaving skills gave trainees the ability to find work in the handicraft industry, an empowering step towards economic self-determination.
BRCP’s collaboration with Limam Hermassi led to the hiring of 20 new workers from Feriana, in the Kasserine region, to weave Berber carpets.