Moroccan Woven Arts Exhibition

Free & open to the public through Nov 24th

Darlington Arts Center is proud to work with Compassion Corps to bring traditional Moroccan carpets, blankets and bags hand-made by a women’s co-op in Tarmilat, Morocco to Garnet Valley, PA. At the free opening reception on Saturday, November 6th from 3 to 5pm members of Compassion Corps will be on hand to discuss the history and living conditions of these artisans in Tarmilat while you enjoy refreshments at Darlington.

Located in the mountains of Morocco, Tarmilat is a village of twenty shepherding families. Most of the villagers raise animals for wealthier herd owners who do not live on site. Apart from a small creek, there is no running water and certainly no electricity. Situated next to the city dump for the resort town of Ifrane, houses are constructed of rock and mud walls, covered by roofs of plastic sheeting and tin cans salvaged from the dump. These homes shelter the families from inclement weather of the mountains, including heavy snowfalls. The nearest school until recently was five kilometers away across a major road, so few children consistently attended class.

As part of a school project, high school students from Ifrane visited Tarmilat and were moved by the harshness and austerity of living conditions in the village. Together with the villagers they decided to create a traditional carpet-weaving project where the women taught each other traditional weaving techniques and the high schoolers raised start-up funds and helped market the finished products.

Over the past five years, the women of Tarmilat have continued to sell their rugs, blankets, bags and scarves out of their homes to travelers, and organizations like Compassion Corps strive to bring their products to new markets ensuring the women receive full market value. This weaving project has led to other development initiatives in Tarmilat. A literacy program has been funded along with transportation for children to attend school. Finally, the governor has fulfilled his promise to build a one-room schoolhouse in Tarmilat for the children.

Compassion Corps is a U.S. charitable non-profit headquartered in Delaware County, focused on “engaging hearts and unleashing hope” for those in great need in many countries in Africa. The agency organizes several short-term teams each year and an annual summer trip to serve orphaned and special needs children in Morocco and they always visit to the smiling women of Tarmilat, where a warm, hearty welcome and unique shopping experience is sweetened by their offers of mint tea and Berber crepes, called melawi. Compassion Corps staff and team members strive to purchase at full market value at least one rug, bag or blanket from each artisan a trip, sometimes leaving with suitcases full of items to market for them back in the States. Purchasing one of their original woven goods can make an invaluable contribution to the women of Tarmilat and their families. For more information about the women of Tarmilat or about teams that serve the women and children of Morocco, contact Mrs. Jan Bean, Compassion Corps Director, at 610-574-7188 or Compassion Corps, P.O. Box 103, Chester Heights, PA 19017.

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