Read an excerpt from Eve’s latest newsletter, following her tracks across Morocco’s Atlas Mountain foothills to discover ancient Berber weaving techniques. Morocco, October 2016
We are proud to celebrate ten years of working with communities in the Atlas Mountains. In the past 12 months, we have developed three new projects in collaboration with our partners, aimed at enriching the lives of more local people. Read on to find out how we are making real progress thanks to Eve’s continued efforts and our dedicated team on the ground.
Tansghart Woodwork Centre
The new centre offers a carpentry apprenticeship scheme, developed to address a lack of vocational training facilities for young men in the rural community of Asni. In fact, the centre has already welcomed eight young trainees from the local villages who had recently left or dropped out of school. The boys completed a two-month work-based training course in Casablanca with our business training partner, Green Sahara Furniture, before returning to the new woodworking facility provided by the Foundation where they have been putting their new woodwork skills into action.
As well as learning a good base of all-round carpentry skills, the trainees are taught how to create one-off beautiful pieces of furniture and handmade jewellery from local wood offcuts and are being encouraged to build their own business in the carpentry trade.
They have already fulfilled an order to produce 800 bracelets and keychains for a gala event in LA and a bespoke rocking chair for an auction hosted by British Polo Day. Orders from customers seeking handcarved, authentic items will help to generate a future income for the trainees and sustain the work of the centre so that more young men can be trained.
If you would like to order bespoke items for your event or business with all proceeds going to the woodwork project and its trainees, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The Big Clean
We all share a responsibility in keeping our communities clean and in recent years, a build-up of debris from infrequent litter collection has become an increasing hasard in Asni. When a group of Virgin Atlantic Adventurers visited the region to raise funds for local projects, they not only planted 30 young fruit saplings in The Eve Branson Foundation garden nursery but at the same time planted the seeds for the launch of a new litter management scheme by donating the funds to build rubbish collection points throughout the area.
200 volunteer litter-pickers from the local villages and primary school came together to make Asni rubbish-free and in partnership with Kasbah Tamadot, we are now funding litter collection transportation several times each week.
The project has been a great example of how tackling litter problems head-on can bring communities together and show younger generations how we can better care for our planet. This project will directly benefit 5,000 people in the local community.
Tamgounssi Weaving Workshop
Over the past ten years, the work of the Eve Branson Foundation has largely directed resources to the needs of young women and girls living in the more remote Atlas mountain villages, to support their socioeconomic advancement.
The construction of a weaving co-operative centre in the village of Tamgounssi is now complete, with over 50 women attending weekly training sessions to learn how to weave high quality woven throws, scarves and rugs by hand, using natural fibres and linens. The centre has strengthened community ties whilst helping to preserve the highly regarded skill of weaving or ‘art tissage’.
It can take up to 18 months to learn the traditional technique of using ancient wooden hand and foot-operated looms through to learning decorative finishing techniques. The quality of the products will open up new opportunities to sell items to the local tourism and hospitality industry.
It’s a very exciting time for the Eve Branson Foundation and we can’t wait to see more of our new initiatives in action. But for now, you can support Eve’s work with the Berber community by donating to the EBF where your contribution will go directly to supporting these projects.
If you are visiting Kasbah Tamadot, you can help out too, by visiting the Berber Boutique, where 35% of the shop’s revenue goes to supporting further projects through the Eve Branson Foundation, or you can donate here.
By making a donation today, you can help us to continue our positive work in 2017.