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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Candle Making and Goats in Zimbabwe

Open Air Candle Making Class
After a tree planting ceremony in Chiweshe the village Chief expressed a need for help with income generating project ideas. 
A month later, we had partnered with a local micro finance organization and travelled to Chiweshe to support candle making training and the beginnings of a very promising goat  rearing project.

The Chairman of the committee shares their plans for the goat project and enclosure

 Together with 2 university iterns from the micro finance organization, we came up with a plan to start 2 projects – one for candle making and another for goat rearing (a world away from New York city for sure).   Tashanda did the research on the different types of candles and candle making techniques around the globe and also researched income generating ideas for goat projects.    

During our visit to Zimbabwe we took alaptop and shared Youtube videos on candle making with the villagers.   The purpose of the video demonstration was to encourage them to think beyond what they imagined was possible (in this case, thinking beyond residential candles for domestic lighting).     It was our hope that after they had mastered the candle making technique they would begin to experiment further. 

The in-progress goat enclosure

We were also given a tour of the new enclosure built for the goat project.   The villagers organized themselves into groups of 11 and 20 for candle making and goats respectively.  Each group has a chairman, a vice chairman and a secretary.  The secretary took notes throughout the day!  A candle making project for 11 villagers costs $600.