They line the roads and scenic car parks of Africa, and elsewhere. Those unsung craftspersons who can conjure up the most incredible artworks, from whatever materials are to hand. 1/6th scale motorbike replicas, made almost entirely from wire coat hangers, gorgeous fruit bowls woven not from reeds but reused multicoloured electrical cables. And toys cut from discarded aluminium cans. Moved by the dignity of such creative people, an American couple established a micro-entrepreneurship program. Their first grant projects hit the ground running in the Caribbean and Trickle Up is now celebrating 25 years of reducing poverty. Trickle Up report that in this time they have, in concert with umpteen grassroots partner agencies, "helped hundreds of thousands of men and women build more than 120,000 micro-enterprises in 119 countries, benefiting more than a half-million people." It would appear that these endeavours have been a huge lift to many people, as 88% derive most of their income from the businesses that Trickle Up helped them develop. 68% of which are women-lead. Crafts make up only one type of business, with retail and agriculture/animal husbandry plus food processing also featuring strongly.
If you will be near to NY on 2 December 04, you might wish to hear more about this inspiring program. There will be a firsthand report on the micro-businesses being created within the US, including work in the Bronx and Dakota's Native American reservations. For more info PH: 212-255-9980, ext. 203, or RuzenaB@trickleup.org
Or consider one of the handcrafted, limited edition, 25th anniversary celebration bikes from Mali artist, Dramane Sangaré. Recycled aluminium can bicycles with movable wheels, pedals and kickstand. $45 plus shipping. Tip from Michele E W. Thanks. Trickle Up [by WM]