The school in Fass is open!
Feb 13, 2019
We and our partners in the rural village of Fass realized our collective dream on February 2: officially opening the first school in the village, and the greater region, to offer Quranic and non-Quranic instruction.
Now, alongside the teaching of a Quranic master, there are classes for boys and girls in the French language and in all the traditional subjects of an elementary school curriculum, along with practical skills including carpentry, sewing, fishing, and cooking. Previously, none of the villagers has been able to read and write, either in the local language of Pulaar or in French; the new literacy will be life-changing. The region’s religious leaders have determined the program according to their desires with a full appreciation of the need of the local people to expand their horizons at the same time that they maintain the vital traditions of Islam.
Designed by Toshiko Mori Architect, the school’s circular structure and open brickwork keep the interiors cool yet light-filled during the hottest part of the day. As students advance into upper grade levels, they move through classrooms whose ceilings increase in height, an apt reminder of the progress they are making.
The idea for the school goes back to 2012, when Le Korsa inaugurated a new maternity unit at the Fass Medical Center in partnership with Dr. Magueye Ba. After the ceremony, the local Imam, Thierno Sall, expressed his desire for a school in the village to Le Korsa founder and president Nicholas Fox Weber, and a dialogue began.
Seven years later, thanks to incredible partnerships with Dr. Ba and Thierno Sall, the leadership in Medina Gounass, and the generosity of Laurel Hixon, Michael Keane, and their son Alex Keane, school is in session.
Bookshow: art and literature at Espace Medina
Jan 28, 2019
In partnership with the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, we supported the launch of Bookshow, an exhibition series in Dakar, Senegal, that unites artists, critics, and writers for installations and performances about libraries and literature.
Held at Espace Medina, an arts space founded in 1960, the first iteration focused on literary representations of Africa by Africans. Participants in the exhibition reflected on the work of Cameroonian theorist Achille Membe, as well as other classic texts from the Black Atlantic tradition. They staged a performative reading in the gallery and on the street, and also engaged all inhabitants of the Medina neighborhood by presenting research, translations and original writing in Wolof.
The event drew hundreds of visitors to its opening, and many are returning to the exhibit on a daily basis.
We previously collaborated with Espace Medina on Mon Super Kilomètre, a kilometer-long art installation in Dakar, as part of the 2018 Dakar Biennale, and are looking forward to continuing our relationship with the space.
Progress on Tambacounda Hospital
Jan 07, 2019
Manuel Herz’s team shared with us some photos of test façades for the Tambacounda Hospital expansion project. His team, with our support, is hard at work making the final preparations for construction, which will start soon.
If you would like to support the project, there are several ways to do so. You can make a pledge and receive a limited-edition, framed reproduction of an artwork by Josef or Anni Albers. Please click here if you would like to purchase one and directly support Tambacounda Hospital. Please note that all pricing for these limited edition products is in British pounds and is not tax-deductible in the United States or France.
For more information on the campaign-launch event titled Starting at Zero, which featured Chef Elena Arzak’s cuisine inspired by Anni Albers’s life and work, please click here.
Join Our Biggest Project Yet
Dec 18, 2018
On December 6 at the Tate Modern in London, Le Korsa and the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation hosted a benefit event for the construction of the desperately needed new maternity and pediatric wards at Tambacounda Hospital.
A very limited supply of reproductions of artworks by Josef and Anni Albers is still available; please click here if you would like to purchase one and directly support Tambacounda Hospital. Please note that all pricing for these limited edition products is in British pounds and is not tax-deductible in the United States or France.
For more information on this incredible event titled Starting at Zero, which featured Chef Elena Arzak’s cuisine inspired by Anni Albers’s life and work, please click here.
United States Ambassador to Senegal visits Thread
Dec 05, 2018
On November 26, 2018, His Excellency United States Ambassador Tulinabo S. Mushigui visited Thread and Sinthian to see Le Korsa’s work in action.
Ambassador Mushigui mentioned that he had been planning a visit to Sinthian ever since he saw an exhibition in New York City that featured Thread, and had said to himself, “I have to be there.” It was a perfect time for a visit, as he was able to hear about Le Korsa’s work directly from the people it benefits.
To kick off the visit, local students performed some of the region’s traditional dances for him. Then, Moussa Sene, Thread’s General Manager, described the range of Le Korsa’s work, from art and agriculture to education and medicine, and how it impacts the local population. After Moussa’s introduction, Dr. Ba presented his and Le Korsa’s medical efforts in the region; the head of the Sinthian women’s GIE spoke about the collective’s agricultural work; the men’s beekeeping group explained how they harvest honey and bottle and sell it; and a delegation of local teachers shared how Le Korsa’s provisioning of school supplies has improved education in the surrounding area.
Ambassador Mushigui stressed how delighted he was to see Le Korsa’s work in person, and to hear firsthand accounts from Sinthian’s inhabitants about the improvements in their lives. He also mentioned how much he enjoyed seeing two of Anni Albers’s artworks—Second Movement III and Second Movement IV—in the United States’s Dakar embassy, thanks to the Art in Embassies program.
Le Korsa was honored by Ambassador Mushigui’s visit, and we are glad to count him and his team among our supporters.
A New Way to Support Girls’ Education
Nov 19, 2018
In Tambacounda, young women face many obstacles to pursuing education, from early marriage and child-bearing to their families not wanting them to attend school. Most of them are also impeded by an issue that is not prominent in developed countries: a lack of sanitary pads during menstruation. Because young women in Tambacounda can’t afford or access hygienic products, they don’t attend school when they are menstruating. These gaps in attendance are detrimental to each girl’s education, often holding them back from graduating and attending college. Some girls do fashion their own pads from whatever materials they have available, whether it’s old clothes, mattress foam, or leaves—none of which is hygienic.
Le Korsa is working to improve the situation. Thanks to a partnership with Mary Consolata Namagambe, the founder of the Ugandan-based organization She for She, which teaches young women to create their own comfortable and reusable sanitary pads, we ran an important production and business training at the Foyer de Jeunes Filles.
From October 25 to 31, Mary and four professional seamstresses worked with six girls at the Foyer. They taught this small group to make reusable sanitary pads, but also how they might turn the operation into a small business by producing and selling large orders of pads to local organizations and schools. Le Korsa is actively helping the Foyer develop a business plan for this project, which will be designed to provide a source of employment for those girls who are unable to pass the entrance exam to college. We are just in the early stages of what we will hope will be a transformative enterprise for the young women of the Foyer, and of Tambacounda.
Thanks to Mary, and to the generosity of Laurel and Mike Hixon, we were also able to bring 200 pads to the rural village of Fass, and run a workshop on feminine hygiene with the nurses at the medical center. Finally, in Sinthian, Mary and Le Korsa team members taught a large group of young women and girls to hand-sew their own pads, using fabrics that they might have available.
Soon, we hope, all of these women will have one less obstacle between them and their education.
Thread is a finalist for the FIBRA award
Oct 18, 2018
Thread is among the 50 finalists for the first FIBRA award, which honors architecture constructed from bio-based and natural materials. Congratulations to the Thread team, and to Toshiko Mori Architect, who designed the building. Learn more about the FIBRA award here: https://www.fibra-award.org/en/about/background/
Sinthian soccer tournament returns
Sep 26, 2018
The annual soccer tournament hosted in Sinthian by Thread and Le Korsa has just begun. This year’s fourth edition will again feature 16 local teams, but it will also have a new component: educational workshops and events for the over 1000 spectators who come to Sinthian to see the final match.
Before the final, Dr. Magueye Ba, who runs the Sinthian medical center, will be offering a workshop on maternal health, HIV prevention, family planning, and infant immunization. His presentation will be followed by a screening of a film about the realities of clandestine migration, created by Giovanni Hänninen and Alberto Amoretti, which will be capped by a discussion on that topic.
To help this important material reach those who cannot be in Sinthian, each village that participates in the tournament will designate two of its team members as youth ambassadors. Their task will be to disseminate the health and migration information in their villages, and to remain in touch with Le Korsa for further collaboration.
With the tournament drawing more and more people to Sinthian and Thread, we felt it was a perfect opportunity to share potentially life-saving information with a large segment of the local population. We hope that this year’s tournament will be a new model for how we can integrate sports and development work, and we’ll provide more updates as we have them.
Thread featured in TIME’s World’s Greatest Places
Aug 23, 2018
Thread, the artists’ residency and cultural center in Sinthian created by the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation and Le Korsa, and designed by Toshiko Mori Architect, has been selected as one of Time magazine’s “The World’s Greatest Places.”
This is Time’s first annual list of 100 destinations that are breaking new ground, leading industry trends, and offering visitors an extraordinary experience. Read more here.