Fundraiser in it for the long haul: Chaos in Burkina Faso is just more proof of water need
St Cloud, Minnesota, United States—November 6, 2014-- herARTS in Action has a fundraising goal of $11,000 to travel to Burkina Faso at the end of December to implement an assessment for access to clean water and sanitation in Tiebele, Burkina Faso. Although current turmoil demands a delay in travel, there are only 25 days left of the fundraising campaign at http://igg.me/at/withadrop and the efforts won’t be brought to a trickle by recent events.
Prior to the protests that broke out last week and subsequent chaos after Burkina Faso President Compaore stepped down and the military stepped in, the Burkinabe people were living in dire conditions. Lack of access to clean water and sanitation, extreme poverty and illiteracy rates, and many more deplorable conditions plagued the nation and will continue to do so. This recent change in power hasn’t deterred herARTS in Action’s founder, Sarah Drake, from the mission to make a difference in the country. In fact, it’s proved to her just how important it is to reach their goals as she doesn’t envision the country making access to water and sanitation a priority anytime soon.
herARTS in Action was founded after Drake’s 2011 visit to Tiebele, Burkina Faso and her hospital stay because of the poor sanitation conditions. Sarah has worked in collaboration with the villagers and began the With a Drop water project after researching and finding no other organizations working, nor willing to, in the region.
Mere days before the protests began, herARTS in Action launched an Indiegogo fundraising campaign, With a Drop (http://igg.me/at/withadrop). This is the new 501c3 nonprofit’s first fundraiser that offers donors a tax deduction on their donations. The goal is to raise $11,000 ($13,700 on the site to account for prizes, shipping and fees) for Sarah to return to Tiebele and work with the villagers to complete an assessment to know how many wells and toilets are needed, where, materials, contractors, etc. When Drake was in the country it wasn’t known that this information would be needed or that there would be a project, so data was not collected.
While a December implementation of the assessment will surely be pushed back until it is deemed safe to travel to Burkina Faso, Sarah is eager to reach the fundraising goal so that the project can commence once cleared. To learn more about With a Drop or make a donation, go to http://igg.me/at/withadrop or visit our website at www.herartsinaction.com.
Sarah’s experience in Burkina Faso in her words:
In 2011 I visited the West African country of Burkina Faso as an inspired artist. I arrived there with much enthusiasm to create but unaware of the magnitude of the country’s poor living conditions. I quickly learned about the low literacy rate, which is one of the lowest in the world. I also learned that only 11% of the people have access to toilets and 50% have access to clean water. While I knew the region was plagued with poverty, I didn’t realize that it ranked in the top five poorest countries in the world.
At some point during my visit I fell ill from the poor sanitation and unsafe water and ended up in the hospital instead of on the plane that was to take me home (I heard the plane take off from my hospital room). Now, bedridden in the hospital with access to care that many Burkinabe didn’t, not only did I know the conditions, I could empathize from firsthand experience their daily struggles to a lack of access to clean water and sanitation.
However, just because I saw need through my lens, it didn’t mean Burkina Faso needed me to do anything. By having respectful dialogues, collaboration with the villagers of Tiebele resulted in a decision to bring water and sanitation to the village in order for them to get healthy to attend education and obtain employment.
When I returned to the US after a month’s stay, I researched water projects to bring attention to the need in Tiebele. Unfortunately, no organizations were working, nor willing to, in the south central region of Burkina Faso.
Inspired by the Burkinabe spirit, I was called to take on the task and started herARTS in Action. My dedication and passion for this work has found me conducting business out of my one bedroom apartment that I share with my 11 year old daughter and local coffee shops. I don't have an art studio, but paint on my living room floor with my daughter next to me working on her own projects. I’ve also had the privilege to partner with Burkinabe artists Harouna Ouedragogo (painter) and Ramde (Tambi) Artistide (sculptor), and I hope to continue partnerships with other artists to create awareness about the work with the village.
Sarah Drake is a visual artist who sees art as an educational tool to engage viewers in critical thinking and expand their comfort zones. As a teaching artist she not only uses art as tool in the education process, but allows the space to experiment with and inspire through art. With a mixed media medium, Sarah is able to reuse materials in her creations as part of her education on sustainability. Artworks often include themes that inspire social change, whether in abstract, surreal or representational form.
Drake is the founder of herARTS in Action (non-profit) www.herartsinaction.com and Sarah Drake LLC (for-profit) www.sarahdrakeart.com where she is an artist, conducts teaching artist residencies, facilitates trainings and coordinates projects/events. Sarah has exhibited her artwork internationally in New York, Moscow and London, and will in Tokyo next year. Her work has received awards, and she has a piece in the permanent collection at the Marina Tsvetaeva Museum and Cultural Center in Moscow. Sarah has a Master’s of Science degree in Social Responsibility and her undergraduate degree focused on Ethnic Studies and Geography, both from St. Cloud State University, and design diploma from St. Cloud Technical & Community College.
For more information, please contact Sarah Drake:
Facebook/Twitter: @herartsinaction and @sarahdrakeart
Website: www.herartsinaction.com and www.sarahdrakeart.com