Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ojai Artisans Working to Establish Sister Co-op in Musoma, Tanzania

 Musoma, Tanzania is a city of over 100,000 and is wracked by ignorance, poverty, malnutrition and disease. Most people live on less than $2 a day and struggle to provide the next meal for their families.  Their  water comes from a contaminated lake as does the main industry, fish.  There are few paved roads and little electricity.  Women typically cook over a few pieces of charcoal if they can afford it.

     In March 2010, Ojai Artisan, Peggie Williamson visited Musoma and found  few working artists  and that many of the traditional arts are no longer practiced.  Williamson met  three basket makers  trying to support large extended families, and bought everything they had made.  There is no market for art in Musoma, due to the extreme poverty.   She presented their stories and baskets at the monthly meeting of Made in Ojai and the idea of a sister co-op was born.

    Ojai Artisans now support the basket makers by selling their work in the store.  If successful, the sister co-op will  include other artists in Musoma.  Not only will this make a transformative difference for  people who desperately need food, water and shelter,  but will help re-establish some lost arts.
      Stop by  Made in Ojai  at 323 E. Matilija  St. to see baskets from across the world and learn more about how you can participate in this new project.  Store hours are daily from 10:00 a.m.-6:00p.m.

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