Lost Opportunities Foundation is a Ghanaian registered NGO with registration number CG046562013. We are based in the Upper East Region of Ghana. We work to improve the livelihood of villagers in Bolgatanga, with focus on business development for women, access to clean water and education for children.
Lost Opportunities Foundation is founded and run by Fuseini Ayologo, who grew up in Sherigu. His father, Abubakari Ayologo, spent his younger days engaging in the development of the village and to help the women sell their baskets. He grew up seeing the hardship his mother, who was a basket weaver, faced every day. At the age of 10, he started helping his mother collecting the straw for the baskets.
Abubakari had an urge to help the basket weavers of the village and in 1991 he bought a store in the Center for National Culture in Accra, a destination most tourists to Ghana visit. He brought the baskets from the weavers in the village all the way to Accra and sold them in his shop. In 2000, he founded the Atie-taaba Womens Association , to unite the women to face the hardship of village life together – and to empower them to work together and encourage each other towards common goals. Atie-taaba in( Frafra) means “to push each other up”.
Through his work in the Center for National Culture, Abubakari met Asher, a Ghanaian woman who was there to buy baskets to ship to her Italian husband Tony. Baskets from Sherigu were shipped off to Europe. At the end of 2003 Tony came to Ghana and traveled to Sherigu to visit the community where the baskets were woven. He received a warm welcome from the women of the village, always welcoming their guests with smiles and traditional clapping and dancing. Tony decided to support the association with more than buying baskets after seeing the work conditions of the women with his own eyes. In 2004 he donated money to build the community house.
At the end of the year he returned to Sherigu to celebrate the opening of the community house with the villagers. He noticed there was a need for water, since the women were walking for hours each day to fetch water for their households. He promised again he would help. He kept his word and in 2005 he donated money to construct a borehole outside the community house.
The house and the water pump are highly appreciated by the community every single day. You will meet the women in the house every day (except during the most hectic farming periods) where they meet to sing, teach, learn and weave baskets together.
After Abubakari moved back to Bolgatanga, Fuseini took over the shop at the Center for National Culture (Shop No 69). He has been running the shop with his brothers since 2007 and extended the business to also include producing and selling drums and arranging drum lessons for travelers.
He made many international connections through his work in the art market, among them Bonnie Jo Jenkenson from Canada. He shared the story of his community with her and the following year, in 2012, when she visited Ghana again, she traveled to Bolgatanga to visit the Sherigu community.
Fuseini decided to re-name the Atie-taaba Womens Association Lost Opportunities Foundation and register it as an NGO in order to improve the living standards of the women and children of the community. In 2013, through the help of Bonnie Jo Jenkeson we had our first order from Canada for baskets and it helped us to rise the funds to register Lost Opportunities Foundation as an NGO.
Fuseini has a dream of doing something more for the villagers to have a better life and to keep expanding his international network, looking for opportunities to export the baskets out of Ghana to create a market for the baskets where the women can achieve a fair price and to increase the general living standards of the villagers in Sherigu.