May 1, 2012
Africa is Calling: Four Professional British Women Return to Their Roots
MARGARET KADI: Bit by Entrepreneurship Bug in Sierra Leone
Born in Freetown, Margaret Kadi lived in Sierra Leone until the age of 16 before moving to Britain, where she remained for 18 years.
“The decision to relocate back to Africa was due to the culmination of a lot of things,â€ Kadi says. “I visited Sierra Leone for the first time in 17 years, and it blew me away.â€
During her vacation, Kadi was inspired to launch Project Sierra Leone, a supplier of ethically made accessories produced by local artisans. “I met a group of women who made the most exquisite handmade placemats and bags,â€ Kadi says.Â “Some of them were in desperate conditions because it wasn’t so easy to sell their wares. I decided I would help by buying their products and enlisting retailers to sell on our behalf.â€
At the time, Kadi was still based in Kent, England pursuing a career in the media industry. She decided to quit her job and moved to Freetown in 2011 to focus on the business.
Her experience has featured a few frustrations. “The pace is very different,â€ Kadi says. “I find it hard to deal with slow Internet connection, not to mention the fact that there are constant blackouts due to electricity outages and issues due to the lack of water supply.â€
Despite this, Kadi is excited to be focusing her energies on Project Sierra Leone and has immersed herself in community projects. “I am a patron for the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society and I am also a trustee on the board of the Craig Bellamy Foundation,â€ Kadi says. “Being back in Africa enables me to work closely with my artisans; This is a key benefit.â€