Wood carvings from Mukuni Village support artists families

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 at the Victoria Falls craft market. The artisans there had so little business and so many booths that I agreed to try to sell some of their crafts in the States.

Later, I decided to send the profits from the sales of these crafts back to a center for disabled children called the Mama Bakhita Cheshire Home, in Livingstone, Zambia, not far away from the artists’ village.

I visit Zambia every  year and stay at the Mama Bakhita  that now receives a regular grant from the AACDP. I carry art supplies from the US for the children at the special needs school there and we paint each day.

Painting with Mama Bakhita school children

In 2011, with some of the mothers and grandmothers of the children at the school I designed a simple handmade doll and the next year began to sell them with my other crafts. Thus was born the Zambezi Doll Company that provides much needed income for their families, who come from the poorest sector of the community.

Zambezi doll ethnic natural fiber


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.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Suzanne Joyal February 26, 2012 at 12:23 am

Hi, We are doing similar work in a very different area of Zambia! I would love to learn more about your struggles and successes. We have developed a micro lending program in northern Zambia (Nchelenge, north of Mansa), and are just beginning to introduce art-making to the women we aim to help. Visit my Kickstarter to hear more about that (there are three days left for my project).

Beverly Laila Nickerson June 13, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Dear Marsha,
I really liked meeting you at the Yoga Barn wish I could see your wonderful puppet show my son and I used to create our own when he was younger. I will be back on the island mid july. hope to reconnect then. So delighted to have found your cause.
Light Love Peace,
Beverly Laila Nickerson

Judy Lane June 14, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Hi Marsha, We spoke summer before last at your home about the work that you do and also my work in Tanzania with the Maasai Tribe. I have a nonprofit (Ngorongoro Community Network) which runs programs in a remote village such as women’s microloans, scholarships, medical fund etc. As an integral part of my work I bring money into the community by creating a market for their beadwork in the States (they are too remote to access the tourist market). I know that you sell at the Ag Fair and am wondering what the procedure is for signing up. I am unfortunately too late for Featherstone but am going to try the OB Open Market and Chilmark. Any other suggestions from you would be greatly appreciated.

I look forward to seeing what you are selling this summer and hearing an update of your work in Zambia.

Thank you so much, Judy Lane

Antonia Jacchia October 27, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Ciao Marsha, I am impressed of the wonderful work you have been doing after your travelling to Zambia. Thank you for all you are doing. Hope to see you soon. love Antonia

Mary Vivian December 2, 2013 at 8:54 pm

HI Marsha, I am interested in your trip to Zambia. I am not working this year as the school nurse in Oak Bluffs and free to go if you have room.

Thaw Malin iii March 6, 2015 at 10:15 am

Great article in Huffington Post about you and your projects, Marsh. You should quote or post it here on your blog!



Kristina Efimenko July 24, 2016 at 1:08 am

The comment I left is still swaiting modification. So I am writing another comment. I hope I will hear from you. If you email me, I will send you my phone number. I also thought you might find it interesting to contact Lucy Njura, whom I met here in Arizona. She us from Kenya and running for political office now. She has been the organizer of programs to educate her people about AIDS because so many school children had lost parents due to that.

I would really like to talk with you, not only because of our possibly shared past with PCDS, but because it sounds like we are kindred spirits.

Kristina Efimenko

Georgia Morris July 29, 2016 at 8:57 am

Hi Marsha,
I’m wondering if I can come by the store and get some bags. I seem to always have a conflict when you have sales and I don’t know where you live! But it looks like you’re open most of the time?

helene barr August 16, 2016 at 8:19 am


good morning. wanted to share my email with you.

looking forward to travelling with you and your group.

helene barr

Riaan Du Plessis July 2, 2017 at 2:36 pm

Dear Marsha, thank you for sharing this. See the link below of a company based in South Africa making an impact into Africa. Reach out to them?

Dr .Loden Rogers June 14, 2018 at 5:53 am

Great article in Huffington Post about you and your projects, Marsh. You should quote or post it here on your blog!

Dr .Loden Rogers June 14, 2018 at 4:29 pm

I am impressed with the wonderful work you have been doing after your traveling to Zambia. Thank you for all you are doing. Hope to see you soon.

Eddie June 24, 2019 at 5:54 pm

I am very impressed with the heart and help you are rendering to these beautiful children in that part of Africa. God bless you Marsha. I am about to start similar venture in the West Africa, Sierra Leone, with orphans and survivors of the ebola epidemic.
I will appreciate advice in fostering sustainable development with my non-profit projects in Sierra Leone that are giving a helping hand.

Amy Westburg August 2, 2019 at 9:23 am

Hello, I am a teacher at the West Tisbury School. We are seeking guest speakers to come in and share information about their volunteering efforts with our grade 6 students. If you are available any Wednesday during the school day hours please let us know. We would be interested in learning about your organization. Thanks!

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