27 April 2016

ATS® helping the world one woman at a time

When I created American Tribal Style®,  I never imagined how far it would reach. Like the proverbial drop of water in the pond, I can see the ripples reaching far, far away.
Not only does this dance connect communities of dancers world wide, it also connects those that know nothing about us. I am so proud to see ATS® and the dancers that are drawn to it, reaching beyond itself to support those in need. 
There are many wonderful projects created by ATS® dancers around the world, and I wanted to share a few of them with you. If you know of other projects, please post to the comment section so we can all be aware of the change that ATS® has created in the world.

Sister to Sister project

Kalash is an American Tribal Style® dance troupe directed by Kelley Beeston. Kalash started their Sister to Sister projects in early 2014 as a result of Kelley’s visits to the Congo with Luminosity.

Sister to Sister - Contraceptive implants from Kalash Tribal on Vimeo.

Many of the women are the victims of gender based violence, including sexual violence during conflict. Many have lost their husbands, including hundreds of women on the Island of Idjwi whose husbands have drowned on Lake Kivu. These women turned to Kelley for help and support, simply because, she too is a woman.

When I found out about Kalash's Contraceptive Project I made a donation ($7 gives a woman in the Congo access to birth control for 3-5 years!) and contacted Kelley to find out how I could be involved. The result was the Sewing Project. Together we raised $15,0000 and created a workshop where women have access to a variety of sewing machines and tools so they can gain independence and contribute to their families income.
Find more information about Kelley Beeston and her Sister to Sister project here.


Diana Balogy-Tyszko a founding member of Tribe MayaFire, works with WELNepal a education outreach program in Nepal.

Nepal is one of the world's most beautiful countries. It is home to the stunning Himalayan Mountains, years of rich history and warm, friendly, hard-working people. Nepal is also one of the poorest countries on earth and its people — especially its women — suffer from low literacy rates. WELNepal has been helping women of all ages in the lowlands of Nepal learn to read and write in their language since 1996. Over the years, we have seen the incredible impact literacy classes have on people. The classes don't just teach women Nepalese ABCs — they imbue them with confidence and ambition. Literacy doesn't just open doors for Nepalese women, it obliterates barriers.

You can find more information about WELNepal here.

Fashion Fights Poverty

The mission of Fashion Fights Poverty is to raise awareness for initiatives that encourage and support creative, effective, and sustainable means of challenging poverty. They believe that the industries of fashion, textiles, and design offer unique and effective opportunities for designers, craftsmen and consumers alike to contribute to the alleviation of poverty through trade, skill-building and community empowerment
Fashion Fights Poverty is happy to announce it's first on-going international collaboration with Shalom and Sewing Cooperative, two initiatives that are part of "Ensemble Pour La Difference" the parent company of Kelley Beeston's Sister to Sister project, an incubator and innovation consultant based in Congo, Bukavu, South Kivu Province.

About Shalom: Shalom specializes in the small-scale design and dyeing of plain cloth to produce a colorful material local people call Buisa. The workshop is located in Mudaka in the territory of KABARE in South Kivu. The business was started in February 2014 by Narcisse Aghanze Bulonza, who studied IT and entrepreneurship at University in Kampala in Uganda. She is also trained in techniques for dyeing African cloth.

About Sewing Cooperative: As part of a long term plan, a sewing cooperative will be established in addition to the textile dyeing project. The sewing cooperative, located in North Kivu, will build skills initially by making simple products and will eventually be able to create garments and use new skills to earn a living and re-integrate into society.

Please share this blog with others, donate to these worthy causes, or support in anyway possible and remember what a vast world we live in and how one drop in a pond continues to ripple far far away.

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