Kopanang Community Trust

During my adult life I have tried to have one project that I work on that helps other people or makes the world a better place to live. My projects have varied over the years. In the 1980s my job with the US Geological Survey included a project through USAID to bring geothermal energy to San Miguel, Azores, where rural areas might have no electricity. Even in the towns service was unreliable. In the 1990s I inventoried plants in a new regional park to document species and especially to document endangered species. In the 2000s most of my  work was through the local schools as I had three children at home. My children are through or nearly though college now and I have been thinking it is time to concentrate my efforts on a new project. But what?

Last week I decided on a new project – actually it’s more like increasing my participation in an ongoing interest of mine. In August I attended BlogHer ’11 with my daughter. It’s a conference for women (mostly) who blog, many of whom address health, family and other social issues. Johnson & Johnson had a booth there but instead of displaying their products they were highlighting their philanthropic efforts and how bloggers could get involved. One of the groups that they  featured was Kopanang Community Trust and the display featured two embroidered tapestries made by the women at Kopanang. For years I have been interested in organizations that help poor women by teaching them skills that they can use to support themselves and their families. I gravitate toward those groups that produce and market needlework. I have supported these organizations and women through purchase of needlework products in the past, I have a small but growing collection of arpilleras, molas, Indian embroideries, and Egyptian braidwork, but it has been when I happened to stumble across such a group. My new plan is to do a more systematic job of seeking out, supporting and promoting these groups. This includes occasionally blogging about the people and organizations here so watch for my posts and support the women if you can.

Today I want to introduce you to the Kopanang Community Trust in South Africa.  A broader overview of the project can be read here. I fell in love with the water buffalo on the second tapestry and hope he will be living at my house soon.