Calling all Artisans

My niece Caroline is finishing up her Peace Corps Volunteer service in Lesotho working to help a woman run weaving cooperative build and sustain their business. She has asked me to spread the word about a  special project which needs funds to train workers and grow the business. So I am sharing the information with my readers and fellow artisans here. You can help by donating or by spreading the word to others who might have an interest. The goal is to remember and honor those who have helped us by paying it forward and here’s an opportunity to do just that.

This is a link to a website with some photos of their weaving ,

http://picasaweb.google.com/Maserutapestries

and here is Caroline’s letter with an address for the org. which is collecting the money for this project,

Hi Heather,
 
How are you? As I mentioned, I’m working on getting funds down here to my weavers to train five more women. I was wondering if you know of anyone who would be interested in contributing, other artisans?
 
We have found a weaving guild in SC who is raising most of the funds, but we still need more. The total cost of the project is $1100 and that will pay the women a training stipend, pay the trainer, buy supplies and transport. Women here in Lesotho have such a hard time supporting their families since there are simply no jobs to be found. When the women here go unemployed their children are left with little education or food to fill their bellies. By employing these five women we will not only be pulling them out of poverty, but also their families and parts of their communities.
 
The checks need to be made out to the Palmetto Fiber Arts Guild, with a note for the Maseru Weaving Coop Project.  They can be sent either to the Guild mailbox, PO Box 42119, Charleton, SC 29423, or  To the Guild Treasurer, Garnette Tuten, 25 Plainfield Dr.  Charleston, SC 29407.  We need to have this money collected and to the PeaceCorps Volunteer by JUly 15, so our deadline will be earlier. 
 
I know the economy is awful right now, but you can imagine it’s so much worse here. And any help you can give would be appreciated.
 
Thank you so much,
 
Caroline
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~ by hnartisan on June 16, 2009.

2 Responses to “Calling all Artisans”

  1. I have been working with Maseru Tapestries for the past two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and I must say that this is an incredible group of women (and man). When the government needs a weaving to send to Casto to thank him for the Cuban doctors helping out, or with Lesotho athletes to China for the Olympics, is it MTM who does the work. This groups is always backed up with orders, but because of their small profit margin they have not been able to train more women. As I mentioned in my letter to Heather, women here have such a hard time making ends meet. There are simply no jobs out there, thus women and their families go hungry and uneducated.

    The money and training will be watched over by a Peace Corps volunteer to make sure there is accountability. I can’t begin to tell you how much of an impact this project will make in the lives of the women we train.

    We appreciate any support you can provide!
    Rea Leboha

    Caroline

  2. 23 June,
    Here is an update from Caroline…

    “I wanted to pass along a little update on Maseru Tapestries. I went in today and found a new woman working. She heard that there would be a training for women, and wanted to get started right away(and make sure to secure her spot). Her aunt weaves with MTM, which is how she heard about the training. Me Lebitsa says she will pay this woman (whose name I totally forgot), when the funds come in, but she is so eager to have an income she pushed to start immediately and be paid later for her training. (They know the money should be there in a few weeks) After about 10 days she can make wallets and coaster. I have attached a picture of her work. It still has a long way to go, but really a great start. The group has already chosen who will fill the other four slots for the training and when the money comes in the official training will start.

    I wish you and your group could see the excitement on these women’s faces. And the new woman is just so proud, but still shy. She is afraid of messing up and wants this job so badly. (Me Lebitsa said she is progressing very well and will be one of their better weavers).

    I know I have said it before, but you can’t imagine the difference you are making down here. Thank you again for your help!”

    Still time to get a contribution in before the 15th of July !
    It is especially good to read that it is already working.
    Thanks to all,
    Heather

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