Apply to Join

Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia

by Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
Transform Lives in Madagascar with Silk and Raffia
The cocoons have arrived!
The cocoons have arrived!

We are almost at 1 July and happy to report that none of the SEPALI Madagascar team has been affected by Covid.  Of course there is no treatment or testing but Mamy continues to insure hand washing, face mask protection and social distancing.  It is very rainy, cold and windy in Maroantsetra and we are lucky to have been able to rent an additional house to allow the team to spread out.  At this time the Malagasy are doing what they have had to do for years; that is to persist.

On a slightly brighter note, www.Tananasilk.com is online and open for business.  We are trying to find a work around for the fact that the International Folk Art Market was cancelled and the fact that SEPALIM is trying to build financial independence through sustainable markets.

We are keeping the online market small as we build up, but our newest item is a wild silk facemask.  The team has already made 450 masks for their families.  Inspired by our team, one of our US volunteers designed a new mask following CDC guidelines that we are selling online.  It is made of two layers of cotton, 1 layer of wild silk, and on the inside has a slit for an exchangeable filter- we suggest a coffee filter!  Check out our lovely cocoon-silk, raffia trimmed basket, artist collage packets and more.  Everything we earn is returned to the project in in this time of low market activity, it is a great way to encourage our team and keep their spirits up.  

Thank you to all for your encouragement and support.

Wild silk facemask
Wild silk facemask
Team designed mosaic silk
Team designed mosaic silk
Team designed cocoon silk baskets with raffia trim
Team designed cocoon silk baskets with raffia trim
Cocoon discs!
Cocoon discs!

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Baskets designed by Lalaina and made by the team
Baskets designed by Lalaina and made by the team
We are happy to report that there have been no known occurrences of COVID in Maroantsetra.  The team has been able to continue to work wearing masks (each team member has 6 and they change them every 2-4 hours), each wears the new SEPALIM uniform, hand washing is required upon entering the workshop and no one other than team members are allowed into the compound.  We anxiously await the arrival of winter in June in Madagascar and continue to keep our precautions in place.
 
Mamy and Lalaina have both been thinking about new products to farm. Fruits are available for about 1 month during the year in abundance and much goes to waste. Mamy would like to set up a fruit drying program. We are getting generous help from a new agricultural advisor, Chris Pannkuk whose experience in tropical agriculture spans the globe.  Lalaina is also taking on new projects to enhance food security. She is working on teaching herself how to make flour from locally available breadfruit.
 
Mamy is taking immediate action to help the team insure itself again hunger during the coming lean season.  He set aside a room in their house for storing food.  He provides a salary advance to team members to purchase rice when it is immediately available.  The rice is stored ahead of lean period until needed.  Farmers will not have to deal with inflated prices.  This is the same approach the team took to ensure that farmers could afford to purchase school supplies for their children.  If you remember, Mamy and Lalaina purchased school supplies during the off season so they could offer them to SEPALIM silk farmers at low cost when school starts. This allows team members to avoid having to purchase them from local venders who increase the price during school season.  Hooray for the SEPALIM social network!
Our new CPALI summer intern Stella Gryler is making facemarks from our beautiful cocoon silks.  They will be sold on our Ta'Na'Na online website!  The masks are made from COCOON SILK and lined with 2 layers of contrasting, cotton.  The inner layer is finished off with a small pouch for an inner layer filter if desired. Filters are not provided with the mask but we recommend a simple coffee filter that can be changed every day.  The masks can be washed in cold water as needed.
Also new to the market are Lalaina and the artisan teams beautiful cocoon silk baskets.  The baskets are made in three sizes (a basket family) from the different types of silk with which SEPALIM.  Melissa McFadden Photography in Walla Walla is helping Tanana put together a new online store by taking beautiful pictures of Lalaina's new cocoon-silk baskets.  I will be sending new links in the future but here is a sneak peak!   They make a unique gift made from wild cocoons trimmed with natural dyed, woven raffia trims.  

 

Cocoon silk mask made by intern Stella Gryler
Cocoon silk mask made by intern Stella Gryler
Covid mask filter pouch
Covid mask filter pouch
Diversity of basket colors
Diversity of basket colors

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
SEPALI team prepares new workshop
SEPALI team prepares new workshop

On Friday, March 20th, the Madagascar government confirmed 3 cases of COVID-19. The government declared a public health emergency, suspended all international flights for 30 days, shut down schools and social gatherings, and asked residents to take standard COVID-19 precautions. The outbreak is believed to be limited to central Madagascar at this time (Tana and Toamasina), but as trends in other countries have shown, the highly infectious disease is difficult to contain. 

The SEPALI project is located in the northeast corner of Madagascar where no cases have been documented as of yet, but the team is preemptively jumping into action. Mamy and Lalaina, SEPALI directors in Maroantsetra held a meeting on the 23rd to brief the team on the situation and teach recommended precautions to staff and artisans. The team used their last day in the office to make homemade masks on the sewing machines and the workshop was shut down for the week, to be re-evaluated on a weekly basis. 

One of the major challenges in Madagascar and especially in the area where the SEPALI project operates is that most livelihoods are based on subsistence, daily hand-to-mouth transactions. With food insecurity as a constant pressure, the feasibility of staying home is limited. SEPALI team members are no exception and expressed their desire to return to work. In response to the team, Mamy and Lalaina designed a system to maximize protection while staying sensitive to the evolving situation in Maroantsetra. 

Mamy and Lalaina spent the past week preparing the workshop to offer the best protection possible. They rented a second house next door, doubling the space of the SEPALI workshop. They designed areas for hand washing and stocked supplies of soap and disinfectant. They ordered uniforms for the artisans to change into on arrival and set up separate sewing stations, 3 meters (9 feet) apart. 

Team members returned this week, adhering to all new precautions and social distancing. Each have their own homemade masks as well and the equipment is cleaned daily. Family members are no longer allowed to visit the office. The workshop will temporarily remain open in this limited capacity unless new recommendations from the government, a safety concern or a case of COVID-19 is found or suspected in Maroantsetra. At that time, the office will be closed indefinitely. 

Meanwhile, the situation in the capital region continues to evolve. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has grown to 45 as of yesterday, mostly traced from international flights prior to the travel ban. National travel bans are being enforced as well. There does appear to be some early data that suggests that the disease spreads slower in humid, tropical environments, but everything else about the situation in Madagascar including infrastructure, healthcare availability and feasibility of social distancing makes the country especially vulnerable to this disease. 

We will continue to keep you updated as the situation evolves, and we will do everything we can to keep our team safe and do our part to combat this global health emergency. Thank you for your support. 

Team makes their own masks before outbreak
Team makes their own masks before outbreak

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Card woven belts with silk trim
Card woven belts with silk trim

We have had a wonderful year and would like to thank you for making  it possible.  We started off preparing for the International Artisan Market Santa Fe in January  (the market was held in July).  That event was challenging, exciting and profitable and we are thrilled to report that Lalaina was selected to return to Santa Fe in 2020.  The sales were great but even more she had a chance to meet artisans from around the world – including other Malagasy artists! We are hoping in the coming year to target our new products to match what IFAM buyers seemed most interested in purchasing. Here is a sneak peek - this year Lalaina has made beautiful, raffia,  card-woven belts with wild silk trim.  They are sure to be a hit.  The raffia is dyed from native, Malagasy, plant dyes – a direct result of our collaborations with others at the market.

In October CPALI worked to develop new markets in Portland via a very successful experience at Portland Textile month.  The Sylvan Dyers of Portland transformed 4 different types of silk textiles into 5, beautiful and unique pieces of art that were auctioned off at the fabulous store, Cargo. In addition, Cargo also allowed us to sell Madagascar textiles during October to help us build a market for wild silks on the west coast.  Our hope was to stimulate new interest in the materials.  Finally, Julie Beeler, Portland textile artist and teacher, held an evening class where 12 participants.  They had the opportunity to dye two types of wild silk in a rainbow of colors – and yes, they were all natural dyes.

Thank you again for a great year full of new opportunities and successes for both SEPALI and SEPALI Madagascar.

Lalaina's new basket designs
Lalaina's new basket designs
Textile display at Cargo in Portland
Textile display at Cargo in Portland

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Lalaina showcases her work at Santa Fe
Lalaina showcases her work at Santa Fe

In the heart of summer in the US and winter in Madagascar (yes, Madagascar sort of has a winter), conditions aligned to create our best season yet. 

International Folk Art Market, Santa Fe:

As you probably heard from our newsletter, our team kicked off the summer with the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market and it deserves another mention here since all of you helped us get there! Lalaina Raharindimby, our lead artisan in Madagascar and the head of the women’s group, flew in a week beforehand to attend the IFAM conference. There, she met with other artists, mentors and speakers. She brought our natural dye challenges into the spotlight and troubleshot solutions with artists from Nigeria and India. She made connections, developed new ideas for design and direction, and even volunteered to become a women’s health ambassador for her community in Madagascar. Best of all, the team’s work sold like hot-cakes at the show. She called the whole experience “amazing” and left invigorated with ideas for the future.

Tropical Biology and Sustainable Development Conference, Madagascar:

Back in Madagascar, Mamy Ratsimbazafy, the director of SEPALI, was already ramping up for a conference on tropical biology in the capital. There, he did a presentation on SEPALI and its work in the northeast and networked with colleagues working in similar fields. The Tana-based SEPALI field staff, Ravo and Tsiresy, got to take part in some of the fun as well. Meanwhile, the team in Maroantsetra took on a little leadership of their own and continued to fill orders from afar.  

The Next Best Thing: Natural Dyes:

The vinegar-based dyes that we are curretly using have their advantages in terms of color-fastlness and consitency across different materials, but Mamy and Lalaina are convinced that natural dyes are the right direction for SEPALI and could be attainable in the very near future. Thanks to our new contacts from IFAM, they set up a natural dye training workshop in the plateau region and learned plant identification and dyeing techniques specific to Madagascar. The next step will be to adapt all of that information to the project in the northeast and begin to experiment with the whole team. 

What’s up now?:

You! While the wonders of natural dyes are unfolding in Madagascar, textile month is in full swing in Portland, OR and SEPALI’s silk and raffia products will be on display all month right here in the US. If you are anywhere near Portland in the month of October, please stop by and check out our new designs. We would love to see you. 

Learn more here: https://www.portlandtextilemonth.com/event/sepali-textile-installation-opening-party/

 

As always, thank you so much for your support! None of this would be possible without you!

Santa Fe Art Festival in full swing
Santa Fe Art Festival in full swing
SEPALI team in Tana at the ATBC conference
SEPALI team in Tana at the ATBC conference
Natural Dye Workshop with the team, Madagascar
Natural Dye Workshop with the team, Madagascar
Silk and Raffia on Display, Portland Textile Month
Silk and Raffia on Display, Portland Textile Month
Artists at the Santa Fe Folk Art Market
Artists at the Santa Fe Folk Art Market
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Conservation through Poverty Alleviation, Int

Location: Walla Walla, WA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Catherine Craig
Project Leader:
Catherine Craig
Walla Walla, WA United States
$31,908 raised of $40,000 goal
 
245 donations
$8,092 to go
Donate Now Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.