An update from The Eve Branson Foundation:
With a heavy heart we had to temporarily shut down The Eve Branson Foundation craft centres in March in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the closing of markets and loss of overseas tourists, many local people in the Asni valley region have seen their only means of income evaporate overnight.
Spring arrives at the Berber village.
In partnership with Virgin Unite, Virgin’s Charitable Foundation, we immediately addressed the critical situation on the ground for those households most in need, particularly socially vulnerable women and their families.
We formed a response team made up of Kasbah Tamadot and The Eve Branson Foundation (EBF) Managers to co-ordinate the supply of essential food and provisions to villages. To date, we have helped over 530 families in the valley. The EBF teachers have also led an initiative to produce more than 2,000 protective masks, distributed free of charge to local people.
Behind closed doors, life goes on. Our communities have been celebrating Eid at the end of Ramadan at home with their families. Through WhatsApp groups, teachers and artisans from the centres have kept in regular touch, sharing creative inspiration and continuing to develop their embroidery skills at home.
A woman works on some embroidery whilst in lockdown.
An artisan crafter works on handmade totebags in lockdown.
Getting creative! A woman weaves a carpet at home.
We are touched by the people who have reached out to help support these often forgotten communities in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains and how this help has in turn helped to build a greater sense of solidarity between the villages.
Thanks to the generosity of our partners, we can continue to fund training over the summer months for EBF participants once lockdown restrictions have eased and keep teachers employed by offering daily classes both on site and remotely.
Remember those wonderfully fluffy bathmats and beautiful handwoven throws? The weavers have been busy coming up with new designs and we cannot wait to share these with you soon.
At our Tansghart Woodwork Centre, trainees have been creating tutorial videos from home and sharing them online to inspire others to learn. They have explored the transformation of wood offcuts from pruned trees into a finished piece, a reminder of how community orchards are so integral to life in the High Atlas Mountains.
EBF’s hope is to create a fully transactional online shop where artisans can sell a selection of their exclusive handmade products seen in the guest rooms at Kasbah Tamadot.
However, to continue with EBF’s programmes long-term, we will need more support. EBF has launched a new fundraising project to help the community get back on its feet:
Please help us to create a safe place for everyone in the community to learn, connect and create during this time of risk and isolation. Your donation will result in wider access to training programmes for those who have never had a chance to learn or earn an income.
EBF sends any funds immediately as they come in. 100% of your donation goes to fund frontline projects.
We will continue to share our love of the beautiful Atlas Mountains in Morocco with you and build community resilience so that we can all keep going, even when times are challenging. Thank you.