Friday, 19 February 2010

Sharing an idea: Poverty elimination and the environment

Isn't Life funny?... The twists and turns.... the subtle nuances... the sparkley moments... the gifts intended for us...

...the marshmallows... Ok, so they're totally unrelated to the dialogue, but I couldn't resist their pink and white poofiness and wanted to record it for my own purposes :)

We just had a change of guests. Chris and Roslyn Darling are visiting from Canada, and they stayed over at Los Charcos last night, on the recomendation of mutual friends and earlier guests, John and Mary Noyes.

John and Mary Noyes, of Kew (UK), having a knees up at Los Charcos with Nilo.

We've known John for many years now. He's an entomologist, and has just retired from the Natural History Museum, London. His wife Mary is a music teacher to primary school children and an avid ornothologist. They stayed here 2 years ago and loved it so much that they came back earlier in the week.

Chris is also an entomologist and a Professor of entomology, and Roslyn is a textile artisan! How about that! Coincidence or what! Needless to say, while our husbands were off hiking the Los Charcos forest trails, Roslyn and I had a good old natter. She spins and weaves and does hook work rugs and dyes and is currently doing her masters in textiles. I really admire that! I can't wait 'till she gets back to Toronto, so she can send me links to images of her work, and maybe she'll let me publish a few of them here?

Chris and Roslyn Darling of Toronto (Canada).

Anyway... we got talking about an idea that I've had for a couple of years now - which is the idea to establish a small(!) woman's textiles co-operative here in the village - and it was great to share this idea with someone else right now, because recently the idea has started developing into something more tangible and within the realms of possibility.

Today, I'm going to share this idea with you! So grab yourself a cuppa and get comfortable ;}


Sustainable development: "development which meets the needs of the present, without compromising the needs of the future."
The Brundtland Commission, Our common future, World Commisssion on Environment and Development 1987.

As some of you know - at the same time as raising two fabulous young men- since 1994, I've been working in the vanguard of (tropical) plant science and conservation, in one capacity or another. I was very young - and naïeve! - when I set out on that journey, with lots of ideas of how I was going to help "Save the Rainforests".

However... collectively, my experiences over the years have taught me that, if hope exists for the environment - for life on Earth in general - it will come about by a)the complete desimation of the human species, or, b) addressing fundamental social issues - particularly that of rural poverty. I believe there is alot to be gained through supporting the role that women play in rural sustainable development. I say this, not as a women's liber, but because it's a fact! The sooner we start to enpower women from rural communities the better it will be for everyone!

I can't tell you, how tired I am of clashing horns with people who pitch up on the Osa Peninsula and think they know it all. I'm tired of listening to the constant whining about hunters and loggers. I'm in reverse gear, backing away from all of that, reclaiming my own creative life, and thinking more and more about helping people to help themselves. Particularly women. Specifically, women from my own community.

So... that's what's on my mind! There's more to it, of course, but I just wanted to sound you out about it first.

I would love your feedback and commments.

I would love to hear from anyone who's actually done something like this or knows of someone who has. I would love to hear from anyone interested in getting involved mentoring an initial program (either by coming down here or by teaching me new stuff online so that I can then teach others) focusing on capacitating women in a range of basic textile based skills. My own training - about 150 years ago - is in Batik an resist dying.

I would especially love to hear from anyone who might be interested to inject a few dollars into a start-up program.

As always, I would love to hear from you! :) :) :)

Please forward this message to anyone you think might be interested. You can also blog about it and link to this post.

Thank you!

P.S. Still stitching away here!


Sandra said...

Hi Cathering,

Here is my next try, google ate my previous comment .... ;)
I love your idea. I have no experience in this field. But here in the Netherlands we have a tv-programme called: Return to Sender. It is a initiative of the dutch actress Katja Schuurman. If you google on these names you will find information. Also on you tube you can find a video about this projec.
The idea about this project is to have the people make products that are sold at the "Hema" (a well-know departement store) and that the profit is returned to the makers. Part of the idea is that the products apply to the tastes of the Dutch buyers, so they are quite trendy. I once bought a white cotton duvet cover with lace crochet, made in India and a scarf with lovely embroidery from Nepal.

Wish I could be of more help, I love your project. Wishing you lots of succes.


arlee said...

i know you wil have great success with this, and be a fire to kindle more fires----all the best and good wishes--if i were there....

arlee said...

oh my, just had to say my word verification was "redneuro"!!!!!!!!

jude said...

this is a great initiative... it is so important to use a creative mind to create "something better".
i have done a bit of forwarding..... hope it generates some interest.

your stitching is looking better and better.

Anonymous said...

I haven't anything useful to add in a practical how-to-do-it sense, I just wanted to say wow, what a great idea, and good for you. And yes, the stitching is looking gorgeous.

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