The Project Justine - Train the Trainer

The Project Justine - Train The Trainer e.V.

How everything started and what we achieved so far

What is the project Justine - Train the Trainer?
The aim of "The Project Justine" is to give people in developing countries a vocational training or professional training. According to the "Train the Trainer" principle, an educational and cultural center, a meeting place in Benin, West Africa, is to be created. Young people are to be trained and educated here, in order to pass on their acquired knowledge. An important goal is to put people - mainly women - on the international market, so that their good work is valued and the products manufactured in Africa can also find their buyers all over the world. The training is designed in such a way that everyone can generate their own income after graduation. In addition to the tailoring trade, other disciplines are to be conveyed in a targeted and sustainable manner. In the long term, the center of Benin itself is to be self-run.

Who is Justine?

Justine Tchilalou Payarou – she is 40 years old – Lives at home in the north of Benin in Natitingou. She is married and has a daughter. Natitingou is in the County of Atakora in Benin. The city has about 35,000 inhabitants and is located in the north-west Benins at the foot of the Atakora mountains. Natitingou is the entrance to the large game reserve Pendjari National Park. It has a large central market, a museum, two hospitals a cinema and an airfield. Well known are the Tata-Somba residential castles in the region. To the east of the city lie the Kota waterfalls and to the south the botanical garden of Papatia. Justine is a graduate seamstress and has completed her "master training" at NOH NEE in Munich. She was trained by Marie Darouiche. It is she that the project is named after and the partner in Benin. After the first successful product of the cooking aprons, the first fashion collection "NOH NEE BENIN" was produced in the spring of 2016 and was sold mainly at NOH NEE in Munich. The collection for 2017 is designed and tailor-made. In this work Justine gave her new knowledge and experience to trainees. An employee from Munich accompanied her for months in her studio in Natitingou.

More young people are to be trained and educated in Benin, in order to pass on their acquired knowledge.

According to the "Train the Trainer" principle, an educational and cultural center, a meeting place in Benin, West Africa, is to be created.

Where and when was the Justine project started?
With a continent-connecting idea, the sisters Marie and Rahmée joined in 2011. Through a lot of creativity, the classic Bavarian "Dirndl" became the "Dirndl á l'Africiane": colorful African fabrics were tailored into a Bavarian Dirndl. The two Africans met Marianne Dötzer and Alice Sücker in 2012, who trained with their NGO WEMA Home e.V. in Benin tailors. A training plan for an African seamstress was quickly put into practice. A tailor from Benin - called Justine - came to Munich in the winter of 2012 for the "master" training. Thus it was soon possible to begin production of a chef's apron in Benin. In 2015 - after the second training of Justine in Bavaria - the first collection was made in Benin and sold in Munich. This collection was very popular.

The First Collection

The first Noh Nee Benin collection was made in Benin and sold in Munich.

The people behind the continent-connecting idea
The two sisters were born and raised in Cameroon with a Syrian Kurdish father and a Cameroonian mother. They were raised speaking both French and English, and now live and work in Germany for more than 20 years.  Marie Darouiche, a designer for clothes for 45 years, has been the idea behind NOH NEE Dirndl á l'Africaine, her sister Rahmée Wetterich is working as an interior designer for 25 years now. Marie is responsible for the design and production with her team and Rahmée runs the NOH NEE label. The two sisters not only wanted to create fashion but also to move something. This is how the idea of the Justine project developed. The idea was to strengthen women in Africa, making them independent in their country.

Justine's first visit to Munich in 2014

Marie & Rahmeé welcome Justine in our Munich studio. The training begins. Justine gets all of the important skills in sewing from Marie. Despite heating, Justine was always cold - she is used to other temperatures.


The traditional house in Boukombe is called "Tata". Here lives the most important man in the village - the medicine man

Justine welcomes Cosima from Munich, she continues the training in Benin and helps working on the collection.

Justine makes herself pretty with her self-sewn Bavarian dirndl for the church on Sunday

Rahmeé, Cosima and Justine do the preparations for the first Benin collection.

Why is the project called "The Project Justine"?
The project leader is the seamstress Justine from Benin. With Justine, an example was created. With the well-trained tailor's education focused on the person Justine. "The project Justine - train the trainer" is an example for all other people who in cooperation with the project can learn to become independent, regardless if they are tailors or they have other professions. One can say: Justine stands for "self-determined life".

Until the training center is ready, this is the temporary workplace.

The African Waxprint from Ghana "Made in Africa".

Cosima checks the quality.

Justine delivered the fabrics by motorcycle to the atelier.

2015 - The first Benin collection is finished.

Our first Noh Nee Benin collection 2016
Hannah, the daughter of the founder Rahmeé is proudly presenting the collection with summer dresses, shorts, Dirndl and blouses at our shooting. 
Project will be expanded
The Project Justine needs to grow. It may be compared with a tree, the baobab: Together a baobab was planted and with common caring, this tree became big and strong.  Already, this tree is able to bear fruit and the seeds have be replanted in other places to grow again. Thus new fruits can soon be harvested in many different places. Justine is our pattern for the future, it is an experiment. Justine is "cloned" and brings education and independence - and thus a self-determined life. We need these visions and connections in our world, we need this encounter with common "fertilization", mutual learning and action.  In order to fulfill the vision of the combining of cultures with life, a center of education and culture in Natitingou is to be built. People can meet, exchange skills, learn from each other and recognize and identify similarities. This mutual "fertilization" is to be carried out in different professions, with workshops. Whilst, attending an internet café or going to concerts. We plan for the future also training places, guest and student dormitories, and much more. In the educational and cultural center, the African and Western cultures can get closer to each other, learn to appreciate each other and everyone who is interested is welcome!

More sewing machines are brought to the studio in Benin

Collection 2017 
Rahmeé and Cosima fly again to Justine in Benin in order to start the production of the new collection 2017. The fabrics market is the first stop.

Colourful flair at Cotonou's fabrics market

Our Cosima bringing the fabrics to the studio - in traditional style on the head .

The studio
New special sewing machines were delivered and are now set up by the men from the village.

Additional machines shipped from Germany are being set up. Almost done! Justine is totally exhausted.

Our new Trainee Hawaou cutting the fabrics to size.

Cosima and Justine working on the collection 2017.

The cut is being controlled.

Our last resort during a blackout - an old treadle sewing machine.

Hawaou is sewing her first Dirndl.

Our little guest is fascinated by the technology.

The first finished prototypes hanging on the clothes rail.

At the end of each work day we are cooking together.

We are enjoying the dinner all together.

Time to say Goodbye
Justine and Rahmée saying good bye. Rahmée is returning to Munich together with the new collection. 
What excites us is the connection of two cultures
African country meets Bayern. Can that fit? The answer is yes and how that fits. This fusion is found in dirndls, dresses, jackets, trousers, all of which are designed with colorful waxprints and thus interweaves both the cultures of Bavaria and Benin in Africa.  This cultural fusion brings Bayern und Africa closer together. Together we discover the wonderful African materials - not just the Waxprint - of the continent. Africa has this great talent and connection with nature, this is reflected, for example, in fascinating batik from Ghana and Kenté. Hand-woven fabrics from Ghana, know-how and skills come from Europe. Combining this with each other is our mission and our vision. Marie and Rahmée stand personally for this vision and the link between the continents: Rahmée creates the balancing act between Africa and Europe well, Marie is more introverted. They understand themselves blindly. At the same time, they have the same feelings and the same direction in which way they want to go.
Credits: Story

Photographer of the Lookbock pictures: Attila Henning

Credits: All media
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