Wednesday 13 April 2011

Calabash Design Classes

A couple months ago, I spoke at a church to discuss a promotion for savings accounts for women at my host institution of MC2. As I briefly mentioned that I work with women’s groups, I was approached by Haowao, a teacher at the Amity International College (which is the equivalent of primary and secondary school in the U.S.).
She worked herself up from nothing to something and now wants to help other women do the same. “I can teach,” she stated, “Can you introduce me to women’s groups?” Right up my alley.
So, Haowao has started teaching how to design calabashes. The calabash is a fruit that is dried and cut to be traditional bowls.  They are additionally carved and painted to be given as gifts for weddings and grand events and sell for approximately 5.000CFA ($10US). As the materials for a calabash are under 1.000CFA ($2US), it’s a great income-generating activity for women.
Thus, Haowao currently teaches one of my women’s groups. They pay her 5.000CFA a month for eight hours of lessons (one two-hour class each week) and it takes between one to three months to learn. Everybody benefits!

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