In this second-to-last entry, I want to encourage all of you to check out two projects:
(1) Sacha Yaku (“Jungle Water”)
The brainchild of Kendra Johnson ’09, Sacha Yaku aims to empower the women of Santa Ana, Ecuador through the sale of their jewelry and ceramics. It is analogous to Emerge, for those of you who are familiar with Alia Whitney-Johnson:
Twice a year, Sacha Yaku will purchase ceramics and jewelry from the women individually. Sinchi Warmi can choose to ask its members to contribute a portion of these to bulk purchase of materials, tools, etc.
Women will be paid a fair price for their work, at least double the price they obtain in Puyo, which is so low that few women consider it worth the time and investment.
The jewelry and ceramics will be brought back to the United States and the unique pieces placed in Art Galleries, where people will be able to buy one-of-a-kind pieces of art that will really make a difference in the artisan’s life. Other pieces of jewelry will likely be made available for purchase over the internet in the future.
The proceeds after travel and operating costs will be invested in the water system – to pay for electricity, chlorine, the salary of the community operator, and any repairs necessary.
(2) “Braille Pencil”
Nadia Elkordy ’08 and her teammates were big winners at this year’s IDEAS Competition, taking home the $7,500 Health Innovation Award for developing a braille pencil. “Similar to a pencil in size and ease of use, the device enables Braille users to take notes and write for extensive periods of time.”