Images from the central highlands of Madagascar, shot during production of a film about traditional silk weavers and how access to international markets is radically changing lives for the better, especially for women. 

See how Peace Corps Volunteers are helping women like these silk-weaving artisans expand their business internationally to boost income-generation opportunities and provide steady income for their families

(Source: davidevansimages.photoshelter.com)

Madagascar silk weavers gendev Africa income generation Peace Corps Volunteers The Silkies of Madagascar

Peace Corps Volunteer Teaches Students to Make Bread; Generate Income in Uganda

Peace Corps Volunteer Siong Ng recently spent two months teaching three teachers and 30 female students how to make bread to generate income for their community.

“We intend to be self-sufficient after the first school term by supporting the baking program with revenue from the sale of baked goods. Of course, we cannot bake bread without an oven. On one of the field trips to a bakery store, we saw an unused wood-fire oven and convinced the owner to donate it to our school. She did and that was the rest of the happy story,” said Ng, 62, who has been working as an education Volunteer since February 2010. Ng was previously a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mexico for three years where he worked with business owners to improve their operations.

In January, Ng started the baking program, which is held every Thursday for both teachers and students from a local primary school. Later in the year, they intend to increase the trainings to two-to three-times a week. The most recent training in early March yielded six loaves of bread and more than 100 dinner rolls. Ng taught students business skills and helped them to sell half their baked goods to the local community.

(Source: peacecorps.gov)

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Peace Corps Volunteers John Hart and Caroline Lucas helped launch a women-owned small business in Armenia selling and producing handmade stuffed bears. Since the Berd Bear project started in March 2011, the women have sold 230 bears, and generated thousands of dollars.

“The women of Berd are incredibly talented and hardworking. They put a lot of pride into their craft, which is evident in each carefully and lovingly handmade bear,” said Lucas. “As sales of the Berd Bear increase, more local Armenian women are able to work in full-time positions with the BWRCF.”

Additional income generated by sales of the Berd Bear is used to provide members of the foundation with training classes in basic computer skills, business development and other topics.

“Aside from the financial benefits generated by bear sales, the women are also gaining business and leadership skills,” continued Lucas. “Now, these women can help support their families.”

(Source: peacecorps.gov)

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