1) Thanks for coming out today to hear Susan Bibbings presentation. It was two-fold.
She first explained the background of Lotusland Imports.
While working in Tanzania in 2009, she became aware of the local women, struggling to make money. It was bothersome to see them destroy forests just to make charcoal to sell. She happened to meet two women in the Kilimanjaro airport waiting room: Rossella Rossi (Founder and president of the Italian environmental protection NGO Istituto Oikos and Oikos East Africa) and Safari Lodge owner Tati Oliver. They were also very troubled by watching the local deforestation. These women came up with an idea of how the Maasai women could make money through a innovative collaborative opportunity that would provide a sustainable income source. They seconded Francesca Soldini of the Istituto Europea di Design in Milan to teach an annual design course where students could learn about the Maasai beading culture. These students then must design jewellery that reflects both the exotic workmanship of the Maasai and Italian style. The Maasai women in Kilimanjaro use their artisian skills to create these modern designs. It is direct trade which means that the women make money based on the amount of jewellery they make. Susan brought in a small sample of rings, bracelets, necklaces, purses and wallets. Lee Ann Steynes has kindly offered to host a trunk show so that we may look at some more of Lotusland's beautiful products. I will keep you informed of when that will happen.
2) **last meeting before summer break**
The second part of her talk was about her experiences of opening up a school in Kanenwa , Fumagila, Tanzania ( an hour away from Lake Victoria), called Dream Big Montessori school. It was very impressive to hear about Susan's fundraising efforts and her collaboration with BCIT students to create an eco friendly, sustainable school. It was very moving to hear her express how the corruptness of local police and mafia threatened her and almost took her life and end this project. Her courage, perserverance and determination resulted in the establishment of a successful school which continues to evolve. For more information , google: dreambigmontessorischool.wordpress.com
Wednesday June 1st:
Susan Erdman will speak about Seva Canada. Seva is a Vancouver based organization who mission is to restore sight and prevent blindness in the developing world. Her presentation will focus on some work they did in Tibet. Sounds very fascinating.
This will be downtown 1000am until noon.
Please let me know of your attendance.