About Us

Founded in 2001, Rain for the Sahel and Sahara (RAIN) partners with rural and nomadic desert people of West Africa to enable enduring livelihoods through access to education. Based in New Hampshire and working primarily in Niger, among the poorest countries in the world, RAIN focuses on educating and empowering women and girls as the key to transforming rural poverty. 
An important aspect of what we do is developing new livelihoods based in cultural tradition. The nomads of the Sahara and Sahel have centuries old artistic traditions working with leather, straw, and textiles. We work primarily with Tuareg and Wodaabe people. Some communities we partner with approach RAIN to start an artisan cooperative made up of talented nomadic women. RAIN provides materials, training, and marketing in Niger and the U.S. The artisans keep 100% of proceeds from your purchase and go on to donate 50% to support their local school, where nomadic children must live in order to learn. In this way, your purchase directly supports livelihoods in a place where there are no job opportunities and education for children in communities where the literacy rate is less than 10%.
Tuaregs are well known not only for their stunning leatherwork, but for their jewelry as well. You will find one of a kind authentic pieces handcrafted in Niger by Tuareg silversmiths. As making jewelry is primarily a pursuit of men, the jewelry we have is not produced by a RAIN artisan cooperative. However, your purchase will directly support all our programs in Niger, including artisan cooperative along with sustainable agriculture projects, wells, mentoring programs and savings and loans groups.


The RAIN Team

Bess Palmisciano - Founder and Executive Director
Julia D'Orazio - Communications & Social Media

Brian Nowak - Niger Program Director