Interdisciplinary. Community. Advocacy. Humor.
Project Title: “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”
— Mother Teresa
The project is beginning in mid-November 2016. My participation may end in November 2017, but the intention is for the project to continue on post my involvement.
Poverty is never an acceptable reason for a child to be in an orphanage.
This project will entail setting up a studio/workshop space, fitting it out with tools and equipment, then seeking to contribute skills and techniques to members of families in the family preservation program run by The Small Things (TST), an international NGO based in Tanzania. The vast majority of orphaned and vulnerable children have loving relatives who would be happy to give them a home, they just need a little bit of help. TST helps these families create sustainable livelihoods through business training, mentoring, ongoing follow up, school support, and loan or grant support, as well as covering school fees for the children.
The purpose with be to develop craft skills, building on Tanzania’s rich artistic tradition, that will result in income producing jewellery and wearable objects so children may return to their families. I have the skills, the passion, and the enthusiasm to do my part in working against poverty by not only volunteering, but by selling most of my possessions, I am able to supply tools, equipment and materials for the first year of development. The goal is to have a fully functional studio workshop that will continue after my return to Australia (if I ever).
I encountered Rebecca Ross Russell (founder of The Small Things) on the web through a mutual passion regarding Gendered Jewelry. Bekka had recently published her book: Gender and Jewelry: A Feminist Analysis, 2010, (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform), and I was developing a body of work titled, "What Would My Mates Say If I Wore A Brooch". As we got to know each other, I learned more about her work in Tanzania. Bekka began her time in Tanzania teaching a jewellery course at a vocational school, and ended up founding The Small Things, working with orphaned and vulnerable children and their families.
As I learned more about TST, I felt a strong desire to participate, so I took up the monthly sponsorship of Isaak Ismail, a young boy whose mother had died during the birth of his newest sibling in February 2014. Having completed my Bachelor of Fine Arts, Honours in 2015, with a major in jewellery and small objects and art history/theory, I looked for where I could put into practice what I had achieved. “Tools For Tanzania” is the next stage in my ongoing participation in this extraordinary organisation, TST, Nkoaranga.
My whole life has been a process of trying to belong, to fit in, it has not always been successful. As I became more acquainted with the ethos behind TST and saw their results, I knew the organization and the community they work with had something important to teach me. I would like to think that what I learn there, I will be able to bring back to Australia, enriching my community. Your support for this proposal, and help spreading the word about our efforts, would mean so much and have an enormous impact for this community.
If you receive the grant, how will the funds support your project?
The funds will be used to add to the initial donation of tools and metal by me.
Image 1 – How It Was