The African Artists’ Community Development Project is a non profit organization based on Martha’s Vineyard, MA. We raise money for disabled children, orphans and women’s groups in Zambia by selling crafts here in the U.S.
In 1999 I traveled through Zambia and bought a wood carving, met some honest young men and agreed to try to sell some of their crafts in the States.
Later, I decided to send the profits from the sales of their crafts back to a center for disabled children not far away from the artists’ village. Thus began the transformation from a tourist who looks at a foreign culture to a world community member who forges connections.
I visit Zambia every other year and now have connections with a women’s craft group in Lusaka. I have also started a doll-making project with the mothers and grandmothers of the children at the Mama Bakhita Home for Disabled Children.
Crafts are a sustainable resource! If markets can be found or created, they can doubly impact a community in economic distress. This is empowerment commerce!