grassroots

World Market Mondays Commence

by Marsha Winsryg

Mpekala Womens income intitiative Zambia

At our first World Market Monday sale we ended with a fundraising event where our special guest Sr. Immaculata Mulyei described her women’s income initiative in Secute, Zambia. She named it “Mpekala” meaning “Where We Live” in the local language, Lozi. In gaining the means to produce income, the women are able to send their children to school. This is especially important for girls who often stand second in line to their brothers when a family can only afford to send one child.

Last year Sr. Immaculata spent several weekends walking from village to village assessing the needs of the women and then considering what endeavor might be best suited  to those groups that showed serious interest.

Here in the US we were able to raise money for a pilot training program. Two professional basket makers from a nearby village were hired to teach the women how to make the baskets with prepared sisal.  Step two was to plant sisal, a desert plant requiring very little water, to eventually provide the raw materials.

Sr. Immaculata brought with her from Zambia 16 finished bags to sell at our market and a power point presentation to tell the story. At the end of the presentation, people crowded to her table and bought all but three of the bags which is very good news for the women in Secute and will motivate them to further improve the details of the bags.

Because this is a sustainable project and can weather the vagaries of climate change, we are looking to find funds to start an eager second group. If you would like to contribute to growing this project, these women can gradually improve the quality of life in their home and community and educate their girls, reducing the need for early marriages.

 

 

 

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Sr. Immaculatas Dream Begins

by Marsha Winsryg

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Sr. Immaculata, founder of the Mpekala Project which trains rural Zambian women in the growing and economic uses of sisal, has documented the initial phase of the planting some sisal fields.

She has photographed the new fields and the women are planning to create more fields when the rains come.

Meanwhile, as the first crops grow, the women will learn how to make various items, like baskets, bags and floor mats, from a skilled artisan.

Because sisal needs very little rain to grow it will be a dependable source of material for this purpose and can bring much needed income into these outlying areas and sustain the women and their families.

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 Sister Immaculata, Livingstone, Zambia

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Women Helping Women

by Marsha Winsryg

Zambian mothers of disabled=These are the women of the God Given Gift Group. They are mothers and grandmothers of disabled children who attend the Mama Bakhita Cheshire Center in Livingstone, Zambia.In two year’s time they have grown into a true cooperative sharing the work and profits from the sales of their Zambezi dolls and crocheted bags. With money in their bank account they have loaned to each woman enough to start a small business, paid back with a small interest, effectively running their own in house micro lending bank. Selling vegetables, charcoal, dried fish, or handmade  goods, they can now pay rent, clothe and feed their families and get basic medical care. We are all very proud of what they have accomplished.
It all started with the creation of the Zambezi Doll Project in 2010.

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Zambian Baskets and Congolese Kuba Cloth

The African Artists’ Community Development Project will be hosting an International Craft Bazaar at the Grange Hall on Tuesday, August 3, from12  to 4.

On sale will be baskets, jewelry, carvings, textiles from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ghana and Niger. All profits benefit the indigenous people of these countries, including orphaned and disabled children. For information: Marsha Winsryg,  508 693 4059

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