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.