Madagascar has a population of 22 million people. It is the fourth largest country in the world. There has been little progress of improving conditions of the poor. Over the last decade Madagascar has experienced political, economic, climatic shocks, which have created this slow pace of economic growth and poverty reduction.
We started in Madagascar with the Missouri Botanical Gardens who helped introduce the tropical Floras. Our operations are located in a rural village where we have installed solar panels, but there is still more that we want to accomplish for our artisans.
At a visit in Madagascar, one of our weavers went into labor. The hospital was lit with candles because the batteries designed to store energy in the solar panels had failed. The infant died that night due to the lack of medical tools and proper lighting. As a result we immediately stepped in with the help of the Missouri Botanical Gardens to find a solution for our Artisans. This hospital now has been installed with medical tools and necessary batteries to store solar energy with the profits we have earned. This was a collaborative project that directly saved lives of future children.
This plant grows in marshes along the East Coast of Madagascar close to the Agnalazaha Forest nature reserve. This forest is home to many rare species of plants and animals. The villagers of Mahabo-Mananivo walk several miles to collect this sedge. Once considered a weed, it is now valued as a cash crop and is even being planted by nearly a dozen artisans.
Once dry, it is “kneaded” into a whitish clay mixture to coat each piece and allowed to dry again. Then, using the point of a needle it is split in half and each half split again into 4 very thin strips. These strips are boiled in dye for a few minutes and laid out to dry once again. Only then can the artisan begin to weave.
TECHNIQUE: “over/under” technique
HANDLES: The leather handles are made of goat leather filled with straw or the handles are natural, woven from grass.