Global market comes to Fine Arts

The Global Village Market is coming back to the Langley Fine Arts School for its third year. 

Clothing, books, baked goods, sock monkeys and more can all be bought for a toonie each at the Global Village Market taking place on May 2 at the Langley Fine Arts School. 

The market is a single day event bringing the community together to support homegrown businesses and raise money for sister schools in Kenya. 

“It is a community event where everybody wins,” said Vicki Brimacombe, a coordinator of the Global Village Market. 

The market hosts a wide array of clothing selections as well as a Market Cafe with baked goods donated by students, Fort Langley’s Blacksmith Bakery, rhino shaped cookies from Wendel’s, and coffee from Republica Roasters.

“We are in the baby stages of the market,” said Brimacombe, who feels that the market could potentially outgrow the school. Donations to the event are made year round with some families saving clothing specifically for the Global Village Market. 

The market is run by an “army” of volunteers organized by Brimacombe and event coordinator Amber Illes. 

“We could not do it without them,” said Brimacombe. 

Last year the market raised $10,000 for the PA-MOJA organization, and organizers hope to exceed that amount this year. 

PA-MOJA is a sister school organization that pairs schools in North America with schools in Kenya. Langley Fine Arts School was the first to pair almost 10 years ago. 

The local school enthusiastically embraced the idea of sistering a school in Kenya, initially naming the project, Project Kenya Sister Schools (PKSS). In 2014, the project was re-named PA-MOJA, meaning “together” in Swahili.

As part of the sister schools program, Langley Fine Arts School gets a chance to connect with students at their sister school in Kenya. The students send and receive letters, videos, and photos. The students of each school have a chance to learn about each other’s cultures. 

“[PA-MOJA] really embodies what we stand for and believe in,” said Brimacombe. 

The students are contributing to the market by hand sewing sock monkeys, bringing homemade baked goods, designing and distributing posters and by helping to set up the gym the day before the market. Some students will also be performing at the market as part of the days festivities. Other performances include singers, belly dancers, First Nations dancers, and the Langley Arts Council Drummers among others. 

The PA-MOJA organization does not take out any administration costs from the money that is raised by the sister schools in North America, allowing 100 per cent of the proceeds to be given to build classrooms, libraries, biogas stations and continue to provide uniforms and bursaries for hundreds of Kenyan children.

“Education should be a human right for all children,” said Illes.

Students who are able to stay in school and graduate are able to have better jobs and avoid early marriage and childhood pregnancies. By supporting the community, which in turn supports the bordering wildlife conservancy, PA-MOJA fulfills its mandate to help both people and wildlife.

PA-MOJA partners with the Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy to provide education to the communities surrounding the conservancy. 

The wildlife conservancy is also working to provide protection for four out of the six remaining endangered rhinos in the area, as well as supporting the local tourism industry which affects the whole community. 

PA-MOJA, along with the conservancy, provides financial and cultural support which strengthens the goodwill between the conservancy and the community members.

“The community members are less likely to become involved in poaching when they see that the conservancy is helping to educate their children,” said Illes. 

With the Ol Pejeta Conservancy acting as an intermediary for PA-MOJA, staff and students at Langley Fine Arts Schools began fundraising for the project, raising $17,000 in their first year. 

The organization has grown to include 14 sister schools in North America, including three in the United States, and has raised close to $400,000.

PA-MOJA asks that schools interested in becoming a part of the sister school program make a ten year commitment to build a relationship with its sister school. 

“We are here to work together for the long run,” said Illes. “We are not just going to get bored and move on.” 

The group at the Langley Fine Arts School plan on hosting the Global Village Market in the years to come, as well as continue their support of the PA-MOJA organization and the Ol Pejeta Wildlife Conservancy. 

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