Soul of Somanya was co-founded in tandem by Melody MacDuffee (now living in Tannassee) and Arkuh Bernard Tettey of Somanya-Krobo, Ghana. However, for legal purposes, it was established as two separate organizations--one on either side of the Atlantic. Soul of Somanya, Inc. is headquartered in the U.S., where it has become Mel's roommate. Soul of Somanya Ghana, recently renamed Hila Afrika, is located in Somanya-Krobo, which is in the Eastern Region of Ghana. Bernard, too, rooms with Soul of Somanya.
HOW IT STARTED
It all began when Mel received an email invitation to come and teach a group of Krobo artisans her jewelry-making skills. The writer of the email had found her email address in the June 2007 issue of Bead & Button Magazine, in which Mel had an original earring design. Six months later, lugging six suitcases filled mostly with jewelry-making tools and supplies, Melody and her niece Megan were on their way to Ghana.
Over the course of the next eight months, a concept evolved that would define Soul of Somanya’s purpose. Mel and Bernard, whom she had met on her first trip, worked closely together to make the concept a reality. In June of 2008, Soul of Somanya Ghana hired its first group of talented young people. Mel came back over to train the group and to help get things up and running. Soul of Somanya Ghana was born.
Shortly after her return from that second trip, Mel incorporated Soul of Somanya as a non-profit organization in the state of Alabama, and then filed for 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. In April of 2009, it was granted.