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At the beginning of 2017, the women in the Dogon villages Endé and Yabatalou asked for help to buy cotton to spin. We decided to buy 600 kg of raw cotton for six groups of women.
I paid the necessary 900 euros from my own pocket because I couldn’t bear to see the women unable to get started with their business. To see how happy they were with those big bags of cotton and how they immediately started spinning was pure delight.
Since then over 200 women have spun all that raw cotton.
Six weavers are now at work making 15 cm wide strips of white fabric with the spun threads.
When the weavers are ready they will be paid for their work by the women, who can then sell the fabric to the tailors. Again the Dogon people need our financial participation to be able to continue the process.
Until the work is completed, it is not easy to say how much money is needed. But an estimate based on the weight of raw cotton, the weight of a meter of woven fabric and the minimum price per meter gives a budget of 3000 euros for 600 kg of fabric.
For example: suppose that roll of fabric weighing 20 kg cost 100 euros for 330 meters. That sounds reasonable, but it’s not yet a gold mine for all the work the people do to make it.
Even if we cannot buy all the cloth at once, we will at least need a budget of 1500 euros to pay the weavers and to buy new raw cotton to enable the women to keep going.
Of course it would be best to pay the women as well. 1500 euros for 200 women is only 7.5 euros per person, really a minimum wage for so much work.
Eventually, the tailors can get more money with the sale of clothes, which will benefit the whole community. Then the production circle is round and the process can become autonomous.
If a piece of cloth 2 m x 1.5 m contains a total of 20 m of fabric it would cost 6 euros. Sewn and dyed it could be sold for 15 euros, so the profit margin is bigger.
Transport to Europe is also possible. Then costs increase, but profits too.
I see this project as a business. Our participation can be financial but also commercial or organizational. It can be very creative to develop the use of Bogolan fabric there and here. What if we develop the use of organic cotton for example ? What would be possible with organic, sustainable, traditionally hand made fabric ? I wear clothes from original Bogolan, it feels so good. I’m convinced there is a market for it.
Whoever would like to participate in the project is welcome! Contact me if you have creative ideas and would like to do something.
Together, so much is possible …
1 m = 60 gr 1 km = 60 kg 10 km = 600 kg
1 m = 0.3 € 1 km = 300 € 10 km = 3000 €
20 kg = 330 m = 100 €