How the Centers have evolved
Phase 1: The Basket Weavers’ Cooperative (September 2007)
To assist women in generating income for their households, DPDO has fostered the formation of a group of skilled basket weavers. Their baskets are of a traditional design used to keep meals warm. DPDO purchases the baskets directly from the weavers and ships them to the US for sale through fair trade retailers. For a list of basket retailers, please click here.
One hundred women currently participate in the weavers’ cooperative at Kassab Women’s Center, with an additional thirty-two to be added before the end of the year. At the Abu-Shouk Women’s Center, there are currently 175 weavers. Recruitment of additional weavers at both Centers is ongoing; steady production will ensure dependable income for the women.
Phase 2: A Place for Women Only (April 2008)
DPDO was granted a site in Kassab Camp for the Center in April 2008. Two tents were erected for use as the weaver’s workspace and for training workshops. In spring 2010, the Kassab Women’s Center moved into a permanent building next to the original Center. This new facility has classrooms and work spaces, an improved water storage system, and a new roof. In September 2009, DPDO opened a Women’s Center in Abu-Shouk. Two spacious tents in a secure compound make up the Abu-Shouk Women’s Center.
Phase 3: Training (May 2009 – ongoing)
Training in subjects of interest to the women will be held on a regular schedule at the Center. Building skills is key to their personal development and to their ability to manage the Center for the benefit of the women’s community and all who depend on them. Current trainings include literacy, first aid, and solar cooking. DPDO plans to initiative a midwife training program in 2011.
Phase 4: Health Care (2011)
DPDO is negotiating with the Ministry of Health to introduce a mobile clinic that will serve the Women’s Centers on a regular basis.