51 imagesThis story explores how the spread of global industry is supporting the revolutionary employment of Amazigh women throughout Morocco. One of these sources of work comes from an age-old tradition: the gathering and processing of fruit from Morocco’s argan tree, an extremely rare plant that grows almost exclusively in Southwest Morocco. The fruit contains kernels that are hand-extracted and can be pressed into nutrient-rich oil. Even with use of the mechanized press, it takes 30 KG of fruit and 15 hours of labour to produce just one litre of argan oil. A growing array of scientific studies are now proving that argan oil is able to rejuvenate skin, hair and nail cells as well as reduce cholesterol and delay the onset of certain cancer types. Inevitably, it has become a highly marketable oil and demand has soared for use in cosmetic products and the culinary industry worldwide. Although the Imazighen of Morocco have used it medicinally for centuries, it was never recognized as a valuable commodity until now. As a result of marketability and 100% sustainable harvest, argan oil is proving to be a boost to Morocco’s economy and environment. It has demonstrated such great success, that the government has become financially involved in supporting the reforestation of a tree that was heavily on the decline not twenty years ago. Nevertheless, what is now a highly valuable commodity, also commonly referred to as “liquid gold”, has attracted a great deal of attention from individuals hoping to capitalize off of a new demand. What social impact does this trade have on the country, and what is the future of a growing industry for argan oil? A very special thank you to those who have helped fund the on-going research and production of this work: Nana Shimosako, Jen Mahon, Dana Elemara at Arganic, Bonnie Winn, Amelie von Koczian, Niraj Shah, Joni Ammon, Hubert Ammon, Lynn and Mark At Havenessence, Alec Armstrong, Angel Bageneta Sustacha, Regina Young, Alexander Beiner, Sahar Jizan, Eric Da Gama, Sumayya Jamil, Chantelle L’Heureux, Risa Kusumoto, Bo Kim, Martin Young, Daniyar Uzakbay, Eric Gebauer, Ted Beck, Joèl Adrienne Amzil, Susan Hostetler, Gabriel Mulero Clas, Shunsuke Murao, Frances Dielmann, and Pattie Gebauer.
29 imagesThe Moshaweng Valley is an isolated area in the Kalahari Desert approximately 500 kilometres to the west of Johannesburg. Dusty, sand swept roads present the only access routes to the villages scattered in the area. Many of the people here are not indigenous but were forcibly relocated by thae government during apartheid. Against their will, they settled this barren land that is now home to approximately 30,000 people living in various tribal communities. It remains one of the most impoverished regions in South Africa. In 1991, the Frankfurt International School (FIS) launched a service learning project under the guidance of math teacher, Ambrose Kelly. At the time, a small group of students set out on a project to improve and sustain the education of Tswana people living in the Moshaweng Valley. Over the years, new schools and libraries were built, with book donations and other teaching supplies starting to reach the region. The project is continuing to grow and has since gained support from a number of schools globally as well as financial backing from a variety of organizations. “Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, — the balance-wheel of the social machinery.” ~ Horace Mann