The Baobab Tree Project: in Collaboration with Stitch Buffalo

Photo of small cloth crafted baobab trees.

Seeking students to help develop a new  crafting project to celebrate and support women and their work

Project description

I am a huge fan of Baobab trees.

"They are found in arid regions of Madagascar, Arabia, and Australia, and most notably, throughout the African continent. The Baobab is a prehistoric species which predates both mankind and the splitting of the continents over 200 million years ago. Native to the African savannah where the climate is extremely dry and arid, it is a symbol of life and positivity in a landscape where little else can thrive. Over time, the Baobab has adapted to its environment. It is a succulent, which means that during the rainy season it absorbs and stores water in its vast trunk, enabling it to produce a nutrient-dense fruit in the dry season when all around is dry and arid. this is how it became known as "The Tree of Life." Baobab trees grow in 32 African countries. They can live for up to 5,000 years, reach up to 20 meters high and up to 50 meters in circumference. Baobab trees can provide shelter, food and water for animals and humans, which is why many savannah communities have made their homes near Baobab trees." - Read more from Aduna

Long struck by the symbolism of the Baobab tree, I have come to cherish my encounters with natural specimens, but also with the sculptures and whimsical depictions created by artists and crafting groups throughout Tanzania. I have come to see them as inspiring representations of hope and abundance, for both the crafters and the beneficiaries. When we are in Tanzania we are inspired by the various groups that make handiwork as a vehicle for building community capacity, and have wondered how we can embrace crafting to raise resources for our partner organizations and the women and communities they serve.

Through this project, we invite students to collaborate with Stitch Buffalo - a local organization that advances social justice for refugee women in Buffalo, NY by creating opportunities for cross-cultural exchange and economic empowerment through the textile arts.

Project outcome

Students work with members of Stitch Buffalo and our Tanzanian partners to invite women crafters and artists to create their own baobab trees and share their stories.

Students will also work on a special event/s to showcase and sell the trees as a way to raise funds and build capacity for the evolving crafting co-op in Mara Tanzania (featured in other projects) 

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment Other: Ongoing
Start time Anytime
Level of collaboration Other
Benefits Volunteer
Who is eligible  All are welcome
Support Funding is available after the completion of the preparation badge. See below.

Core partners

  • Dawne Hoeg, Founder and Executive Director, Stitch Buffalo
  • Tanzanian Partners

Project mentor

Mara Huber

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning, Director of

Experiential Learning Network

Phone: (716) 829-2834

Email: mbhuber@buffalo.edu

Preparation

To engage with this project, you will work through a series of Project-Based Collaboration digital badges to guide your experience. These badges will:

  1. Guide you in setting your goals and intentions as well as gaining additional context,
  2. Enhance your collaboration with your mentor/partner,
  3. Support your reflection and help you integrate your learning with your academic and professional goals.

All students who wish to participate in a project on the Project Portal must first complete the Project Preparation Digital Badge. First, contact the project mentor to discuss availability and after you’ve received approval, you can start the Project Preparation Digital Badge.

Preparation guidance

Once you have registered for the Project Preparation Digital Badge, you will receive further instructions related to the activities you will need to complete. In addition, you will also complete the following preparation activities for this particular project:

  • Interested students must get engaged with Stitch Buffalo as well as Tanzanian partners involved with handiwork projects. Customized preparation will be developed in consultation with project mentors.