Letter from the Director
sped by since the last newsletter, but we’ve kept busy with the
wonderful help of our summer interns, Aileen Andres, Kelley James,
Madalyn Vonhoff and Megan Walker. They’ve been a great help, and I’ll
miss you all. (Please be sure to read a profile
about Kelley in this edition of the newsletter).
In the past few editions I have shared with our readers how CEN is
working with the Juá
communities of the Brazilian Amazon through the Juá
Community-Based Tourism project. This project empowers residents
and their communities by giving them an opportunity to define and
manage their own vision for tourism in the region. By giving
residents power over the region’s economic development, this ensures
that most of the tourism dollars (or reais in this case) are spent on
goods and services produced in the region, maximizing benefits to the
local economy and to local residents.
In this edition, I’d like to explore the reasons why this program is so
desperately needed by the residents of the region (see article
below) and point out to you how the tourism industry does not
necessarily benefit local communities (see article
below). When local residents are in control over the direction of
tourism in their region, they can create sustainable livelihoods and learn to stand on their own, while
preserving their cultural identity.
We’ve had an increasing number of requests from people interested in
visiting the communities where we work, so we’re planning a
tour in the Amazon this spring where visitors can relax and take in the
spectacular natural beauty but also connect with members of the Juá
community and provide feedback on their work. We’re also negotiating
with a partner organization in Kenya to do a tour there. If you’re
interested in knowing more about either trip, drop me a line.
Additionally, during the past couple of months we’ve made some great
progress building markets for Couro Ecológico purses. Learn more about
our progress by reading the article.
Over the next few months we will continue to focus on lining up grants
to expand our programs, but this is a lengthy process - which means your
support now is critical. Individual donors not only provide immediate
funds, but also help convince grant foundations to invest in us. Our
annual Empowerment Fundraising campaign is coming up in October, but
support us now (by clicking
here) so when you read those messages, you will have that satisfied
feeling that you’ve already done your part!
Finally, please don’t forget to use this link to Amazon.com
when doing your back-to-school shopping, or whenever shopping on
Amazon.com. CEN earns a portion of every purchase you
make at no additional cost to you!
Thanks for your support. Please drop me a line anytime if you have any
CEN Founder and Director
Harvesting Opportunities: Why Our
Help with Community-based Tourism is Needed
by Matt Rosier
Children in the Juá
region, unlike their American counterparts, have very little
choice of what they will be doing for the rest of their lives.
Take a glimpse into the life of João, an average 8-year-old boy in the
Juá, and discover what is needed to make his life, and the life of his
family and community, a little better. Learn
EmpowerBlog: Driving their Own Fate
by Aileen Andres
is a great way to bring money into an impoverished region, but too
often the industry fails to benefit locals. In the control of
outsiders, unchecked tourism can even begin to undermine their way of
life. Find out why it’s important for Juá locals to control how
tourism spreads in their area and what CEN is doing to help. Learn
Update on our Couro Ecológico Efforts
by Madalyn Vonhoff
summer, we have made some great progress with our efforts to help Couro
Ecológico build new markets. For those of you who don’t know, Couro
Ecológico, or “ecological leather”, was founded in 1997 by
residents of the tiny community of Maguary,
located in the Tapajós National Forest in the Brazilian Amazon.
Over 15 men and women work to create handmade purses and bags made out
of Brazilian rubber. The latex is harvested sustainably, and all
proceeds directly benefit the community. In an effort to support this
association's efforts to build new markets for their products, CEN has
been helping to find shops in the US to purchase their purses and bags,
as well as selling the purses directly through our online
This summer, CEN set up a table to sell the merchandise outside the
Bellingham (WA) Farmers 'market, as well as the NW KidsFest in Hovander
Park in Ferndale, WA. The purses are currently available for sale at
the Lucky Monkey in Bellingham, and we’ve identified
a local women’s wear shop that has expressed interest in placing an
order later this
you know any good shops to sell the purses?
We are still looking for additional shops to sell Couro Ecológico. We
are currently targeting shops that sell natural and handmade women’s
wear products with a strong social identity, especially fair-trade
products produced by cooperative groups from around the world. We are
also targeting shops that sell other handmade items from around the
world. If you know of any shops that you feel might be a good fit,
please e-mail us.
Kelley James Goes Above and Beyond her Duties as Summer Marketing Intern
by Kristine Fontanilla
Kelley James, a recent
graduate of Western Washington University, is a great representative of
CEN’s goals and values. She adds a spark of excitement to every
task she touches and is always eager to develop her already-impressive
skills. Job well done, Kelley! Learn
Ways You Can Help
Support CEN with your Amazon.com
Back to School and Textbook Purchases
A new and exciting school year is on
the horizon and we're just as excited at CEN to be a part of it! We
would like to share with you an exciting opportunity: Our partnership
with Amazon.com means that your back to school purchases can also
support CEN's efforts to empower rural communities.
While you're shopping for books, new clothes, or decorations for the
new dorm room or apartment at Amazon.com, a portion of the proceeds
from your purchase will be donated from Amazon.com to CEN at no
additional cost to you.
Taking advantage of this opportunity to help is simple; all you have to
do is access Amazon.com through the following link: CEN's
this link to use for all your Amazon.com purchases year around. Foward
to all your friends for them to use too!
Become a CEN Board member, a job
worth more than money
CEN is looking to expand its Board.
We're seeking people willing to give their time and expertise, especially in organization development, tourism, finance,
law, business, or fund development. We're looking for exceptional individuals to guide strategy, build the
organization, and actively secure resources needed to execute the
organization’s mission . Both experienced and first-time board members
are welcome. Candidates must reside in (or travel regularly to) the
Pacific Northwest of the US.
our Board page on our website or contact Bob Bortner if you or
someone you know wants to learn more about this opportunity to make a
lasting difference in the world by being a part of the leadership of
this incredible organization. We also are known to have a bit of
fun while working hard!
CEN's Annual Pledge Drive is Right
Around the Corner!
Here at CEN, we are making great
progress on several critical projects at the moment – from the Juá
Community-based Tourism project to Couro
Ecológico and beyond. But to keep empowering these
communities, we need your help and support!
CEN relies entirely on supporters like you to help those in poor,
underserved communities stand on their own feet and rise out of
poverty. Our annual Empowerment Pledge Drive will begin October 1 and
run during the month of October. Please watch your inbox for details
beginning October 1. Also, if you plan to give during your employer’s
workplace iving campaign this year, please include CEN in your giving