Tariro, the environment, and Women of Green

This week, I’m writing to you from an amazing African drum and dance camp, Camp Mabina, in New Mexico.  In my first post after returning to the US, I’m not going to give you any immediate news about our programs.  Instead, I want to take a few minutes to talk about one of the biggest shocks I encountered when I returned home.  One challenge of living in Zimbabwe is its isolation from the rest of the world, as state media rarely reports on international affairs.

I was therefore totally unaware of the Deepwater Horizon oil leak until I returned home.  When I heard about this oil spill, I couldn’t believe that this terrible environmental tragedy had occurred, or that I had been so unaware of the disaster.  In today’s post, I want to take a few minutes to comment upon Tariro’s approach to the environment, and our links with the environmental movement in the US.

Most importantly, I want to draw your attention to the work being done by one amazing women, Carolyn Parrs.  Carolyn is the brains behind an amazing podcast called Women of Green, which discusses the complex links between women and the environment.  A green marketing consultant living in Santa Fe, Carolyn has been volunteering her expertise and time with Tariro for over a year by mentoring me personally and helping me to get the word out about Tariro.  In fact, it is thanks to Carolyn that I began this blog.  Her efforts have been critical to Tariro’s success in raising awareness about our organization over the past year.

Late last year, I participated in Carolyn’s podcast.  I encourage you to take a few minutes to listen to our interview, as well as to visit the Women of Green website.  Carolyn’s thinking about women and the environment encompasses important issues such as how women are affected disproportionately by environmental change, just as they are by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

In addition to highlighting Carolyn’s work, I want to share with you one small thing that Tariro does that contributes in our own small way toward the green movement in the US.  This is our production of environmentally friendly reusable “Chicco” shopping bags featuring embroidered panels made by our students.  By reducing the use of plastic bags, we can diminish our reliance on petroleum products.  In addition, the sale of our reusable bags helps Tariro to raise the money we need to continue paying school fees for our students in Zimbabwe.  I especially love the project because the sewing club producing the hand-embroidered panels featured on the bags gives the girls a way to contribute toward their own education, as well as that of other students enrolled in Tariro.  If you’re interested in buying a bag, or in learning more about the project, please contact us by writing a message on the blog, or through our website.

One of Tariro's hand-embroidered reusable shopping bags

Finally, I know I’m always going on about how wonderful our small size and flexibility as a grassroots organization are.  In addition to benefiting our girls, our small size also benefits the environment, as we made the decision not to buy a vehicle for use by the organization’s staff, who take public transport in order to conduct Tariro’s business.  Our reliance on public transportation is another way in which Tariro is striving to be green.

In my next post, I will be featuring another profile of one of Tariro’s newly enrolled students.  Thanks for reading, and as always, I appreciate all of your comments and feedback!

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