In St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, there are no: Girls Scouts, YWCA/YMCA’s, domestic violence shelters, women centers, or female-centered facilities. As a groundbreaking first, Sisterhood Agenda will create an eco-friendly, geographically and technologically centralized female empowerment academy (green building) to uplift and aid in the self-development of women and girls through its unique local and global resource-sharing initiatives.
The Sisterhood Global Empowerment Academy utilizes a multi-media technology center, connecting girls from around the globe with each other. Local Sisterhood Agenda partners (over 40) and global Sisterhood Agenda partners (over 3,500 in 34 countries) can access free and low-cost online technology using mobile phones, computers, websites, videos, video conferencing, social media, webinars, meetings, Empowerment sessions, and conferences. The space is also available for community meetings.
Sisterhood Agenda’s Global Empowerment Academy includes: a media center, lounge area, kitchen area, built-in seating, two full bathrooms, and an outdoor seating/entertainment area. The Sisterhood Agenda Global Empowerment Academy will be a holistic hub from which both locally-based and global projects will be administered.
With this space, Sisterhood Agenda wants to encourage community gardening, fruit trees, vegetables, herbs, and particular animals while discouraging energy drain, waste, and certain types of wildlife Sisterhood Agenda recycles free or inexpensive materials that others typically discard such as shipping containers to create the building and furniture donations, resulting in a uniquely attractive and uplifting space. Sisterhood Agenda’s system takes advantage of the seasonal changes in the VI, particularly pertaining to rainfall and hurricanes. The structure keeps the interior cool in terms of temperature, is fire-resistant, hurricane- proof, and offers protection against the elements. The inside and outside includes liberal use of natural mosquito-repellent materials and the water treatment system should create drinkable water from the kitchen faucet.
St. John regularly receives sand dust from the Sahara Desert and this fact is taken into account with design. With its small footprint, the building is not obviously seen from the street and blends well into its surroundings while still being secure. Local, natural elements and building materials are used. The movement of the ocean is taken into account with design and maintenance issues being in a tropical environment (insects, salt water, air). Sisterhood Agenda will take advantage of ocean-view vistas and trade winds to retain an open feeling inside.
Natural and/or inexpensive materials will be used for the building such as: local mahogany, bamboo, marble, native stone materials and design. The design is clean and streamlined, but vibrant with the infusion of colorful, cultural patterns and textures, inspired by African and Indian textiles. A pitched roof creates a high, vaulted interior ceiling with beams and directs water to its conservation containers. Large windows with hurricane-proof shutters let in lots of natural light while showcasing the ocean and town views.
The community garden is an organic, low-maintenance open space incorporated in the building with a curved design. A natural irrigation system capturing, storing, and utilizing rainfall is designed for the building and the gardens.
The interior furnishings also reflect the environment; they are scaled to fit the smaller dimensions of the interior, multi-functional, and are comprised of salvaged and reclaimed items and natural materials, whenever possible. Interior built-in bookshelves, along with regular seating, built-in seating, and poufs provide library seating areas to read Sisterhood Agenda’s extensive resource materials throughout the academy space.
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