Tools For Self Reliance
Dom Marsh and his girlfriend Nanda cycled into a Welsh town and found an unexpected treasure trove
12 Permaculture Magazine No. 63
At first glance, the Powys town of Crickhowell caters mainly for the Brecon Beacons tourist trade and local army personnel (‘Discounts for soldiers!’ painted outside the offlicence). But in amongst the takeaways and pubs, having cycled from north Pembrokeshire en route to Abergavenny, my girlfriend Nanda and I were surprised to discover a fantastic project based in an unassuming yard near the town centre: the Welsh branch of Tools for Self-Reliance.
After seeing the sign and wobbling into the yard to find out what was going on, we were treated to an extensive tour of the site from the workshop co-ordinator Peter Davies (despite the somewhat wild aromas emanating from our semicomposted bodies after three days of cycling and wild camping over 10 miles) – and what a pleasure it was to stumble across such an inspiring organisation.
© Simon de Trey White
TFSR Tools for Self Reliance (TFSR) restores old tools and redistributes them to communities in six African countries. Much of the work is done by volunteers referred by a local mental health institution, helping them develop skills and confidence.
It focuses on carpentry, metalworking and building tools, and sewing machines; these areas are most likely to help the recipients earn a living, make best use of their skills and teach others. Some tools are also sent back to the UK from Africa for sale here so that the flow of skills goes both ways – the project is about far more than just handouts.
Donated tools that are not requested by the African communities are refurbished www.permaculture.co.uk