Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int

Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, International, a US-based 501(c)3 organization, helps subsistence farmers displaced by the formation of national parks establish new livelihoods that restore and sustain protected habitats.
Jul 2, 2015

Sleeping Insects, Hidden Lilies

Water Lillie for making dyes
Water Lillie for making dyes

The bugs are sleeping, but the SEPALI team is not. Due to the arrival of the chillier winter months in Madagascar (yes, Madagascar has a winter), insect rearing has been slow while the larvae develop in their sanctuaries. The giant water bugs are, well, giant. They are still in their adult phase and the team is patiently waiting for them to mate and lay eggs. The dragonfly larvae (nymphs) are still swimming around in their little habitats working on growing big enough to look edible.

In the meantime, the SEPALI staff are busying themselves with silk production and a new project: natural dyes. In an effort to make a natural black dye to fulfil a set of unusual silk orders, the team succeeded in making dark blue, gray, burnt orange, and brown. Some of their “mistakes” actually turned out to be quite beautiful and the solitary quest for black dye has turned into a fascinating experiment featuring many different species of plants.

The first attempt was conducted with local water lilies. The SEPALI team harvested and boiled down a batch of lilies until the water was a deep-red color. Using vinegar as a fixer, the cocoons were soaked in the dye until they began to turn a light gray-blue color.  In an attempt to take the color a little further, the team tried soda ash as a fixer for round two and achieved a much deeper-blue, nearly black in appearance.

Over the past couple of months, the experiments have expanded to include many species of plants including onion skins, yellow Azine tree roots, red Nato tree bark, and a vine called Engitra. And the most surprising to us? The bright, burnt-orange cocoon was dyed with just a couple of onion skins, resulting in a surprisingly vivid color! You can see the plants and corresponding results in the pictures below. 

We’ll keep you posted in the next couple of weeks with updates on dyes and textiles and hopefully our insect-pets will show their little faces again soon!

Dyeing the cocoons
Dyeing the cocoons
Yellow roots of the Azine tree
Yellow roots of the Azine tree
Red Bark from the Nato tree
Red Bark from the Nato tree
Cocoon samples from each dye
Cocoon samples from each dye
Jun 3, 2015

Small steps: The Women's Guest House is Complete!

Artisan
Artisan's bunk house is complete

We are celebrating the month of June with new on-site living quarters for working artisans! Many of the artisans have to travel a full day to reach the training center and have no family to stay with overnight when working there.  SEPALI Madagascar has just completed a very cute guest house with festive orange trim to welcome the artisan team.

You might notice that the new guest house does not seem to have a foundation - well you would be correct!  The house has been built so it can be moved to the training center site once the training center is completed.  Always vigilant and helpful, Amelia Thrall of the Boston Architects for Humanity has assured us that her team can draw plans to build a foundation at the training site that we can simply "drop" the house into.  It sounds a little tippy, but Ameliahas never let us down - Thank you Amelia.

 So the next question is, how about building that training center?  Current thinking is that the center should be build in an area serviced by Jirama, the local electricity company.  We had hoped to include the training center with the demonstration site - we have put so much work into making the demonstration site a functioning farm that it seems to be a shame NOT to put the training center there as well.  Unfortunately, Jirama does not anticipate extending its lines to our area any time in the near future and we want the training center ASAP.  So, we are back to the drawing board searching for a new site in which to build it. Never fear, we have come this far and will not let something as silly as the lack of a little electricity stop us.

Are you asking, just how well is SEPALI doing making a marketable product and is the training center justified? SEPALI Madagascar is doing very well, thank you very much for asking.  SEPALI Madagascar has produced, and CPALI US has sold over $8,500 worth of silk products just since January 2015 (up from $4000 for the entire year of 2014) and more orders are being processed.  We had set ourselves a $12,000 target for year of 2015 and we may surpass that by the end of July or sooner! Yes, we really need the site to accelerate production and hence support more farmers earnings through the sustainable use of endemic resources

So how do you like them mangoes?  

Just getting started
Just getting started
Siding!
Siding!
Finished at last
Finished at last

Links:

May 7, 2015

A long way to market . . . .

Wild silk chair made by Karen Brown
Wild silk chair made by Karen Brown

A LONG WAY FROM HOME
One of SEPALI's goals is to create new and accessible opportunities so that women can earn money and care for their families - the same problem many women face.  In Madagascar, people that live in rural communities do not have easy public transportation that allows them to travel to jobs and back daily.  In the case of SEPALI farmers, reaching a workshop involves 3 modes of transport - boat, bus and walking!  Therefore, we are building a new training center where women can spend the night while they are away. Nevertheless, even though SEPALI pays transportation, and provides lodging and food, most women are unable to attend more than one or two workshops a year. 

To address women's needs, SEPALI Madagascar is exploring new ways to implement work programs in the villages so women can do a little work every day. They will still travel to the training center for new training but they can  practice  and continue to make textiles close to home.  But what to do when there is no electricity? We are on the search for treadle, sewing machines capable of sewing a zigzag stitch!  So far we have tracked down a machine sold commercially in the US but the cost is prohibitive.  If anyone has a functional machine with a treadle that is gathering dust in the garage, and who would be willing to ship it to Madagascar (we will pay the cost), please contact us!  We will document the machine's journey from your home (with your help!) to Maroantsetra and up river into a selected women's group where it will continue a productive life!

TO THE MARKET
A long way from our women's groups, CPALI US is working hard to develop new markets for our artissan's textiles.  All of the revenue from their sale is returned to the project so that we can continue to expand our training programs. Thanks once again to Amelia Thrall and th Boston Architects for Humanity, we were able to attend the Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York in March to display our artisan’s work.  In the attached photo you can see the three gorgeous drapes made to tempt new designers - and, in fact, it worked!

We attracted the fabulous Karen Brown! The Karen Brown Design Group is our first partner to develop a line of furniture using our beautiful textiles.  Karen has already made a chair, "Natural Selection", that she has donated to the IFDA 2015 Take a Seat Charity Auction in Boston.  Attached is a sneak peak!  Better than that, not only is Karen designing chairs, but her plan to design a whole collection of furniture using our non-spun textile! 

Also, we are thrilled to announce that ABC Home and Carpet, also contacted at the New York show, will be selling placemats and table runners made by women artisans in their holiday catalogue.  ABC will focus on natural colored textiles but who knows what new colors will emerge from SEPALI Madagascar once they begin experimenting with natural dyes!  Stay Tuned! 

Wild Silk Drapes at ADHD Show, NY
Wild Silk Drapes at ADHD Show, NY
Preparing cocoons to sew into textiles
Preparing cocoons to sew into textiles
Placemats for ABC Home and Carpet
Placemats for ABC Home and Carpet

Links:

donate now:

An anonymous donor will match all new monthly recurring donations, but only if 75% of donors upgrade to a recurring donation today.
Terms and conditions apply.
Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $30
    give
  • $60
    give
  • $90
    give
  • $120
    give
  • $300
    give
  • $500
    give
  • $5,000
    give
  • $30
    each month
    give
  • $60
    each month
    give
  • $90
    each month
    give
  • $120
    each month
    give
  • $300
    each month
    give
  • $500
    each month
    give
  • $5,000
    each month
    give
  • $
    give
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int on GreatNonProfits.org.