Organizations, companies, projects and people that I have connected with over the course of this year!
Oxlajuj B’atz’ http://oxlajujbatz.org/
-NGO based in Panajachel, Guatemala; they provide educational workshops on topics related to health, artisan skills, small business management, and group governance. I spent the majority of my time in Guatemala working as an intern with OB. For more about OB, read my posts “capacitaciones and decisions,” “two-week whirlwind,” “we grow great by dreams,” “xeabaj ii,” “quarterly report 1,” “27,000 words’ worth of pictures” and “step two: egypt.”
Mayan Hands http://www.mayanhands.org/
-Fair trade marketing company; helped establish Oxlajuj B’atz’ after seeing a need for educational programs to build artisan groups’ capacity and self-sufficiency. Their online shop sells many products made by women I met at OB workshops!
Maya Traditions http://www.mayatraditions.com/
-Another fair trade marketing company that works with Guatemalan women artisan groups. Along with Mayan Hands, Maya Traditions also played a foundational role in establishing OB.
Camino Seguro (Safe Passage) http://www.safepassage.org/
-An impressive, fast-growing project working to transform the community that subsists by sorting and processing garbage in Guatemala City’s largest garbage dump. Camino Seguro has built schools and initiated income-generating projects to provide opportunities other than the hazardous work in the dump. They welcome visitors and volunteers! See also Creamos, below.
-A project of Camino Seguro; women who are enrolled in adult-education courses are also eligible to be part of this income-generating project, making paper beads out of recycled cardboard and other materials. I visited Creamos and learned how to make paper beads with the women there! Read more about my visit to Creamos in my post “step two: egypt.”
-I became friends with Sharon in Panajachel, Guatemala (actually, we met at Crossroads, see below)—she travels the world interacting with artisans and developing products that she then markets by means of her wholesale fair trade clothing business!
Fair Trade Egypt http://fairtradeegypt.com/
-Fair trade marketer based in Cairo, working with 20+ artisan groups throughout Egypt. I interned here for a few weeks while I was in Egypt. Read more about FTE in my post “step two: egypt.”
Association for the Protection of the Environment http://www.ape.org.eg/
-APE was the original reason I was drawn to Egypt; their multidimensional development project in Moqattam (also known as Garbage City), a Coptic neighborhood on the outskirts of Cairo, combines an innovative, efficient recycling program, schools, and income-generating projects including 2 recycled craft initiatives: paper-making and rag rugs. Read more about APE in my post “step two: egypt.”
Ismail Snosy http://www.siwaguide.com/index.php
-Ismail was an invaluable resource and wonderful friend when I was in Siwa. He’s passionate about Siwan culture, and as the manager of The Siwa Guide he can arrange all kinds of different tours and experiences in the oasis. For more on Ismail and Siwa, see my posts “life in siwa” and “neesh khseekh ysiwan.”
Uganda Crafts 2000 Ltd. www.ugandacrafts2000ltd.org
-Founded by Betty Kinene, UC2000 is perhaps the biggest fair trade crafts retailer & exporter in Uganda; I met with Betty, her daughter Ninah, and many women representatives from basket-weaving groups. UC2000 works together with NAWOU (see below) to export baskets to Ten Thousand Villages. For more on Uganda Crafts, read my post “settling.”
National Association of Women’s Organisations Uganda (NAWOU) http://www.nawouganda.org/
-An umbrella organization that unites different elements of the Ugandan women’s movement. Their marketing division coordinates craft production, exporting to fair trade companies abroad along with Uganda Crafts. I currently live outside of Kampala with Grace, one of the coordinators of the marketing division. For more on NAWOU and Grace, read my posts “settling” and “new home.”
Barkcloth Project http://barkcloth.blogspot.com/
-This research and advocacy project, spearheaded by Lesli Robertson of the University of North Texas, explores the diverse forms of barkcloth production and use in Uganda today. This blog documents work with artists and schools in Uganda and the U.S., and the process of barkcloth production from tree to finished product. Lesli is incredibly knowledgeable and well connected and has been a fantastic resource to me as I find my way in Uganda!
Mutuba Designs http://www.mutuba.com/
-Owned by Sara Katebalirwe, an artist and designer who specializes in barkcloth products and is constantly experimenting with creative ways to strengthen barkcloth and imagine new possibilities for its use.
Let Art Talk http://www.letarttalk.org/
-This NGO, the brainchild of Ugandan master printmaker Fred Mutebi, promotes art education and uses art projects as a tool for community renewal and fostering dialogue around important and controversial issues. I was lucky to travel to Gulu (Northern Uganda) with Fred and observe the beginning of one of his Talking Mural projects, dealing with the issue of resettling villages after many years of life in Internally Displaced Persons camps.
Fred Mutebi http://www.fredmutebi.org/
-Ugandan master printmaker, artist and activist and founder of Let Art Talk (see above). Check out his amazing internationally acclaimed wood-cut prints.
Banana Boat http://www.bananaboat.co.ug/home.php
-Uganda’s trendiest, highest-quality craft retailer. I interviewed the co-owner, Ralph, and learned more about how he and his wife (BB’s founder) are supporting the resurgence of craft production in Uganda and providing equitable livelihood for disadvantaged Ugandan artisan groups.
Design Health & Community http://www.designhealthandcommunity.org/index.html
-A project promoting native Ugandan craft techniques and materials, and supporting artistic expression as a form of public health advocacy. When visiting the British Museum in November, I saw a barkcloth artwork, depicting the devastating effect of HIV/AIDS, made by a woman in Nalumunye, outside of Kampala. That piece was one of the reasons I came to Uganda!
Paper Craft Africa http://www.papercraftafrica.com/
-Cooperative that I visited in Bwebajja village between Kampala and Entebbe; they make paper out of recycled and natural plant materials and beaded jewelry out of discarded glass bottles.
Mitra Bali http://mitrabali.com/
-Indonesian fair trade organization based in Bali.
GLOBAL CRAFTY STUFF
Ten Thousand Villages http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/
-The largest fair trade craft retailer in the United States, with stores all over the U.S. and Canada. I volunteered at TTV throughout high school (and tagged along while my mom volunteered there as a little kid), which is one of the reasons I became interested in this project of crafts and women’s economic empowerment. Fair Trade Egypt, NAWOU, Uganda Crafts 2000, and Mitra Bali are all TTV artisan groups. Fun fact: my grandmother Lois Kreider helped establish the first TTV retail store in Bluffton, Ohio!
Artisan Connect http://www.artisanconnect.net/
-Awesome online networking resource for artisan groups across the globe. Includes international directory of all kinds of companies, cooperatives, and groups.
Mike and Adele Roberts at Crossroads Cafe http://www.crossroadscafepana.com/
-If you are ever in Panajachel, Guatemala, it’s imperative that you stop by Crossroads Café and spend some time with Mike and Adele and their daughters Kasia and Lungile. Their coffee and baked goods are incredible (black coffee and carrot cake was my treat of choice every time I came back from a chilly trip to Xeabaj II) and most of all, the Robertses are some of the warmest people I’ve ever met. Not to mention, their café is a gathering place for all kinds of fascinating people and interesting conversations.
Let’s Play Together http://www.letsplaytogether.be/
-I met Thibaut and Sara (and shared a few hours of game-playing… we collaboratively solved a nagging tangram mystery!) in the shady garden of Siwa’s Palm Tree Hotel. They’re traveling the world playing games with all kinds of people and generally embodying an inspiring warmth, curiosity, and humanity. Fantastic people, fantastic project.
-A fellow Watson Fellow, Nadim is traveling the world in the footsteps of Tintin and studying the intersection of race and imperialism in comics. He graciously hosted me for a few days while we waited to fly out of Cairo!