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Women’s Empowerment through Weaving in Nepal

Look at the detail in this gorgeous bag! This was created in Nepal in our women’s empowerment program, it's one example of many - including scarves, bags and shawls that 60 local women learned how to weave during our 45 day training program serving 3 villages.

first bags from Nepal pic June 2019.jpg

Our executive director/founder, Katrina Zavalney had the honor of being in Nepal personally for this training. She experienced first-hand the joy these women received from learning these new skills to weave. 

The course was part of a larger program to support local economies, enable families to stay together, and support communities to thrive through training in regenerative agriculture, leadership and to form a cooperative. Within one month, local stores began carrying these beautiful, handmade, local goods rather than only imported junk food, sodas and beer. 

Until this point, only a small handful of women knew how to weave these traditional items; it was becoming a lost cultural skill. Beyond the initial 60 women directly impacted, an inspiring ripple effect reached neighboring villages reaching over 10,000 people.

This is truly a regenerative circular economy. Looms are made from locally available and sourced bamboo, providing further benefit to the local livelihood. They live in mountain jungles of Nepal, in remote villages our work encourages to be self-sustaining. 

These women feel heard, seen and empowered to do more in their community. Aranya Solutions partners with ICA Nepal and Rotary International to find the best local teachers in Nepal.  These women have a new element in their lives that enables them to express their creativity, and earn an income. In addition, they learn about their once-dying culture and history, and can now keep that alive and thriving.

Should you wish to support these women in their endeavors by making a donation please go here: https://www.aranyasolutions.com/donate. The best part is once we raise $35,000 The Rotary Foundation International will provide a match. How exciting is that?!


Why Regenerative Land Management is Important - and how our founder, Katrina Zavalney, got involved…

 A personal post, I wanted to share something of the heart. The reason why I am doing this event Regenerate on March 28th with Starhawk. This is much more than an event for me, it is synergies for something special, something needed – to spread the word about the need for more Regenerative Land Use and pathways to support careers happening in this field. Beyond careers, lifestyles. To support awareness of carbon sequestration and knowing how to work with and on the land and repair the earth, we are in dire need, and many people have lost connection and knowledge and the earth is going into catastrophe. I know in my family in just 2 generations there has been much knowledge lost where 2 generations back they used to live off the land, now we are modernized and don’t know how as much. I wanted to create a platform for awareness raising and raising abundance so more people have access to the training and knowledge to do this work. I admire and support diversity scholarships, people who traditionally haven’t had access due to unnecessary levels of oppression – we need to stop these cycles and uplift each other, so I am putting on a fundraiser. Starhawk and Earth Activists training created a program to bring back this knowledge and create career and lifestyles in this – The Regenerative Land Management Training program. There are many other great programs as well out there on this topic, however I have a special connection to this particular one and delighted that it is ready to share! Here’s more about how this program came into creation – and I am very lucky to have been part of it from the start.

I first got involved in this project 3 years ago, well – longer than that – but this particular track started with Starhawk 3 years ago, I think for her it has been a lifelong development J. It started with the International Permaculture convergence continuity after London of how to keep connected and what resources are needed at this time for the greater community. When Starhawk shared about this, I had to get involved – per a growing interest in both International development and the relation to sustainable agriculture and livelihood. Overtime this developed into a curriculum and program, and it was fun as I would explore the world, come back from my travels and touch base with Starhawk, and there were always synchronicities with where we were both at over the years and recognized land that was available for use. We saw a need to utilize and support these resources and determined that there would be an internship component to the program and that everyone should have the opportunity to learn from other cultures and practices by spending time on farms internationally. I knew if we were going to ask that of people we needed to have a way of supporting them financially, as it can be expensive to travel. This is one reason for holding a fundraiser.

Starhawk and I have been friends with for many years, and hold a special connection with as our lives have weaved together since 2005, have a lot of mutual friends, and we’ve helped each other out in many ways since we’ve known each other. I adore her spirit and what she stands for and fully support her. I first met her when she was working on the Bayview Hunters Point garden project working with disadvantaged youth and teaching permaculture skills. Through that I met the magnificent Brandi Mack who has gone onto create amazing programs and promoting FarmHER’s and skills shares and awesome sustainability lifestyles, and this woman has astounding positive energy it always brings me up! I have been inspired by and met so many people through this network. Then there is the spiritual community where I keep getting pulled into from friends in LA who would bring Starhawk in for rituals and gatherings and pull me into helping plan, even after I moved to the Bay! So that afforded Starhawk and I the opportunity to carpool/ road trip together, share stories of her time in Palestine and progressive movements, from anti-war to anti-nukes, she is deeply committed to bringing the techniques and creative power of spirituality to political activism. I just love her courage and tenacity, and keeping an even keel through it all. A true leader on so many levels – and a real person, and a real sense of humor – I love that woman’s cackle! Our connection always had the key note of permaculture and climate change awareness and how to get it out to more people. So as this program developed over the years it had hopes to really get the much needed information out there that could be utilized into a long-term course of action and spread. This is why I stood by her and the development over the years, unpaid, and many hours poured into supporting the creation of a regenerative land management program. This is really her baby and I am simply a support unit.

I really see the need to support the financial development of this program and vision, and visionary – as Starhawk has not been paid for this creation either! She is a generous soul with so much knowledge to give and huge network of inspiring, knowledgeable teachers she in bringing in to share their wisdom in the program, like her first permaculture teacher Penny Livingston, who is so experienced and wise! And as I mentioned we want to support people to explore regenerative land use and farming practices internationally, and that adds up. I know the fundraiser won’t pay for it all, but it is a starting block and more so a tool to help raise awareness about this program and why it exists. I am hoping people will see this need and donate to the program, support Starhawk and diversity scholarships. I will continue to be available, support and be of service by attending the Regenerative Land Management training x program in May to get to know the participants and help them with their internship placements and structure to this portion of the program. Thus I am open to learning about farms and places around the world that participate in Regenerative practices and would like an intern for 2-6 months. Please let me know if you have or know of a viable place. I also will need funds to help support this program, so I am raising money to pay myself (finally) J and make sure we have a scholarship fund for the participants. This is how I work and I do it for the betterment of all.

 

I am also doing this in honor of our dear soul sister aManda Greene who just passed, and she has such a sweet connection to empowering youth and giving tools for success – she created the Youth Impact Hub to support the leadership of low-income youth of color in creating an equitable, life-affirming economy by providing socially innovative training, collaborative co-working space and access to networks and resources. I want these scholarships to go to people in this track. I want to support her vision and keep it going. We need more people like her and if she isn’t around that means the responsibility is now with all of us. I take that to heart and will uphold that for you my dear aManda, for all of us, and want all of us to do this together. So even if people can’t make the event I want folks to know you can still support this program, career track and lifestyles in whatever way works for you – if you are in a financial place to support that is often what is needed most – however each person has their own unique gifts and talents and I ask you to utilize those and support our next generation and repair the earth, we need it, we need you, we need it now.

I also wanted to share more about why the entertainment was chosen for Regenerate on March 28th– that was very intentional as well. When I first got the call from Starhawk saying the program was ready, my first thought was “well need to have a fundraiser and get the word out!” And the next day I was a t New Years party and the Seastars were singing, they have such a sweet and fun way in singing about sustainability and harmonies and are incredible women who do this work outside of singing that it was a natural fit to have them sing. I told them about my excitement that the program was happening and they all love Starhawk, and she is the favorite author with the book the Fifth Sacred Thing, that it was meant to be and meaningful for all of us. Around the same time I saw my buddies from Hot Buttered Rum bluegrass band – whom I have known since college! They used to stay at our house when on tour in the Pacific Northwest in 2003/04! So we go way back – however this is the first time that we are doing a benefit concert together – we’ve talked about it and now here it is, so this is also very special and meaningful for all of us! Then my buddy Jonathan Youtt, who I’ve been wanting to do a show with him and his puppetry for years – has a great show about sustainable agriculture with the smallest farmer in America accompanied with a song and dance – one of my favorite characters ever!! Jonathan also started the PLACE for Sustainable Living and the Cell Space and is one of the most invested community organizers I’ve ever met, much respect and love for this brother. And Neptune! A dear friend, Michael Gosney, introduced Neptune and I as he was taking Starhawk’s permaculture course with the Earth Activists Training and asked if I would help steward his permaculture connections. Connecting people to resources is my favorite thing, especially people who care about permaculture and community – so I was ALL IN! Neptune is so inspired and on fire it is a joy to see this passion about Earth Activism! Neptune was available to DJ and support this event in this way with his talent and passion, so this was also meaningful. And let’s not forget Starhawk, this is naturally a platform to share about the Regenerative Land Use program and why she developed it at this time. Also, one of my favorite things to do with her is the Spiral Dance – so I had to find a venue big enough for a Spiral Dance, where we join hands and she spins us round and round and we get to look into each others eyes and celebrate as a community while singing and dancing, it is so fun!! So each act is very intentional and magical on how this came about. It is pure beauty and joy and everyone has been so supportive of this mission it makes my heart sing! Thank you!! I am so excited to play with you all and to see your talents in action!!

Thank you for taking the time to read and be with me, understand why I do this work and intention to build abundance to support those who want to step forward and repair the earth, those teachers who give us the information and tools to grow, and to Starhawk and her team who are creating the pathway to make this happen. Please join the support team with me and have some fun while at it! I hope to see you at the Regenerate fundraiser March 28th at Omni Commons in Oakland. For those who can’t make it and will be out of town we will live stream some of it, and people can still contribute to the fund through my nonprofit www.AranyaSolutions.com and note that this is for the Starhawk Regenerative Land Management Program with Earth Activist Training. 

Good friends of mine are aware of how I am constantly wondering how can I contribute to the world in a meaningful way that will bring impact. I hope this educational program will bring some impact through carbon sequestration and skills in how to work with and repair the earth – as we need to get back to it. Let’s hear it for Regenerative Land Management and supporting pathways to make this happen!

Thanks – hope to see you next Thursday March 28th, 2019 at Omni Commons in Oakland. If not, please consider donating to www.AranyaSolutions.com or send me a note. Thank you!

 

With love,

Katrina