News

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.

Broadcasting from the Foyer de Jeunes Filles
Jul 30, 2018

From June 26 to July 1, twenty young women at the Foyer de Jeunes Filles in Tambacounda learned the basics of radio and print journalism from two well-known Senegalese journalists, El Bachir Sow and Mbagnick Diouf. The program, coordinated in part by Le Korsa and the Foyer, was designed to help the young women develop storytelling and reporting skills while also learning more about women’s rights and the ill consequences of early marriage.

The journalists taught the young women how to conduct interviews, how to write for print and for radio, and how journalism could be a tool for change in their communities. The participants then produced a radio program on early marriage, which you can listen to here (please note it is in French). They also produced a French-language newspaper, which you can download here.

We are thrilled with all the women at the Foyer accomplished in a few short days, and are looking forward to seeing these voices develop. A huge thanks goes out to El Bachir Sow, Mbagnick Diouf, Victoria Ebin, and Maimouna Ka Sow, for all their work in putting together this excellent workshop.

A look at the Tambacounda Hospital expansion
Jun 21, 2018

We’re very excited to share some renderings for the Tambacounda Hospital expansion being created by architect Manuel Herz.

The new S-shaped building will maintain a visual consistency with the existing hospital structures, and contain two floors of much-needed space.

The first floor will house an updated and expanded maternity ward, and the second floor will be the home of a large pediatrics unit. These new facilities will be life-changing and life-saving for the patients and staff of Tambacounda Hospital, who have long endured crowded waiting areas and cramped examination and operating rooms.

Both Wallpaper magazine and De Zeen have articles with further information.

 

Arch Daily on the Tambacounda Hospital Project
Jun 06, 2018

The architecture website Arch Daily has a nice article about the Tambacounda Hospital expansion project, which Manuel Herz is designing. Members of Manuel’s team were in Senegal this month to meet with hospital staff and city engineers in preparation for the construction process.

Sharing the realities of clandestine migration
Mar 21, 2018

Over the last ten years an enormous number of African men and women have attempted migration to Europe in search of a better life. Too often, as the news constantly reminds us, that better life is not to be found: the journey from West Africa to Libya is often fatal; those who do make it to the coast may not make it across the Mediterranean; and the well-paying job in Europe never materializes for those without a legal right to be there.

This reality, as Le Korsa has learned, is misunderstood by so many in Senegal, and most often by the very young men and women who would risk their lives as migrants. Le Korsa is acting to change that. We have launched a series of film screenings and discussions throughout the Tambacounda region that educate potential migrants and their families about the hazards of the journey. Arranged and coordinated by our staff, the screenings unite mothers, daughters, sons, teachers, artists, local leaders and so many more to see true accounts of migrants, and to discuss how the resources devoted to migration—often substantial sums of money—could be better used in Tambacounda.

After the first screening in Sinthian of “Alpha/Aisadou,” a short film about a mother in Sinthian and her son who has left the village for a precarious life in Sicily, one young man stood up and said, “I planned to sell my goats and leave for Europe, but now I plan to keep them and make a life here.” On March 8, International Women’s Day, we arranged another screening in Tambacounda, thanks to the support of “Niani Wouli,” a women’s group whose members have lost the men in their lives to migration. Afterwards, many women in the audience stated that they would no longer support migration, and would encourage others to speak out.

We have much work to do. Eighteen more screenings are planned for the coming months, thanks to the tireless organization of Massamba Camara. And none would be possible without the six incredible films, created by Alberto Amoretti and Giovanni Hänninen, each of which focuses on a different theme of migration from Senegal to Sicily.

We also thank you, our donors, because your generosity makes such programs possible. If you would like to contribute to this effort, please visit our secure donation page. Thank you.

– Andrew Seguin, Director of Communications

To view the trailer of “Alpha/Aisadou,” please click here: https://vimeo.com/258309032/0ed32a12f3

Fass’s school, ready to change lives
Feb 21, 2018

The celebration of the school in Fass on Tuesday, February 13, was beyond thrilling. It marked years of preparation and negotiations by Le Korsa and Dr. Magueye Ba with the local leaders, who finally agreed two years ago to allow Le Korsa to build a non-Koranic school, the first ever in the village. It is a sea change for Fass, where illiteracy is nearly total. The outward look that secular education will bring to the children of Fass is palpable in the school’s design, which is airy and circular, dappled by light, and from every point open to the world.

Laurel Hixon and Michael Keane, who made the school’s construction possible through donations and fundraising, were on hand to see the structure for the first time. Jordan MacTavish, who designed the school, was there, too, to see it filled with students and truly come alive. But no one could have been more excited than the future students themselves, who already feel at home in the school’s inviting spaces. There is still some construction to complete, including thatching the roof, so the students won’t attend classes there until next fall, but the feeling of progess in Fass is incredible. Thanks to all who made it possible.