Student, The New School

I think there is huge potential for design to enable community development. I witnessed it while working with a group of silk weavers in Sandrandahy, Madagascar as a Peace Corps volunteer. By connecting their unique product with potential buyers, a whole new confidence was established and a village was united. Since so many family and friends of the weavers are beneficiaries of the organization, everyone was motivated to be more involved. With the monetary successes over the last two years, these weavers are faced with a question about the changing dynamic of wives and husbands. Who should be in charge of the family’s financial decisions? Is there a chance that the husband will disrespect his wife’s earnings and use the money for things that do not help the rest of the family? Should the artisans feel shy about their recent successes and therefore not want the other community members to know? How can that dynamic be changed? I think that an already established framework could potentially help communities like Sandrandahy so that there is not as much stress associated with their success. And also, how could these silk weavers benefit further from an alliance with a partner in the United States or elsewhere?