Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry is hosting "I Love Africa," a fair trade African marketplace Saturday, Nov. 16 and Sunday, Nov. 17. The event showcases unique artwork and crafts made by Ugandan artisans to create sustainable income and promote empowerment in Uganda.
The relentless cycle of poverty brought about by civil war and starvation has hindered Uganda for years, according to Africa TrAID, an economic development program under the nonprofit One City Ministries. The group aims to employ and train individuals in Uganda. Profits from sales in the United States have permitted artists to purchase land, food and medicine.
"All the money and all the proceeds that go from the sales are channeled right back into the program," said spokeswoman Amanda Hurley. "It's to pay more artists. They also do artisan training. Artists over there who are really proficient at something can go in and teach a group of people how to do it. It's like a vocational school, basically."
Hurley added this program sends a message of empowerment.
"The program provides an outlet for income," she said. "It allows people to be more self-sustaining rather than being dependent upon foreign aid."
The marketplace will feature beaded cuffs, with designs distinctive to particular villages, authentic serving bowls and other eclectic gifts. The products are made with sustainable materials such as bone, wood, coconut, textiles and re-purposed glass.