As three moms, who fell in love with Ethiopia, we were compelled to find a way to empower the giftedness of the Ethiopian people. While in country, each of us understood the artisans we met had true gifting; but we also realized they lacked an audience for their products. Thus, after thought, prayer, and dreaming, the inception of LoPa occurred. LoPa has been kept under wraps for about 7 months as we've worked out details. Finally, after our return trip to Ethiopia to network and purchase for the local artisans, our micro-enterprise business is preparing for the first show.
The idea behind LoPa is to network with gifted artisans and artists, who lack a rostrum, purchase their products to sell in the USA, and then donate the proceeds to humanitarian relief in Ethiopia to create life change for the country we love. LoPa sells stand alone product and art, which don't require the story of the artisan for promotion...their story is the bonus. Each artisan we promote is Ethiopian, gifted in their venue, and committed to quality products. None of LoPa's product are from a factory. Each product boasts the handiwork of the locals.
Upon our last trip, LoPa was able to select our humanitarian relief organization, which was more difficult than one might realize. Two of us visited Korah with group. Korah is the city dump, which has been forged into a community of 75,000 people for the poorest of the poor. It is said that Korah is the most densely populated Kebeles (neighborhoods) for prostitution (mostly children), brothels, and "bars". Korah draws from the lepers, those infected with HIV and living with full-blown AIDS (most without meds), child prostitutes, orphans, the starving and dying elderly beggars, and families, who know nothing else and struggle through starvation each and every day.
The smell of Korah proclaims to visitors you have arrived. Smoldering trash mountains loom in the horizon. Trash rivers stand between the homes and the working part of the dump. Birds of prey constantly circle above searching for dying flesh that is too common at Korah. Each night the people of Korah must stand watch for the hyenas that feed from the dump and the parishioners of Korah. The scenes from Slum Dog Millionaire come close to expressing the sentiments of Korah- but only close. The hopelessness of seeing a mother feed the baby strapped to her back from the putrescent food she finds foraging through trash juxtaposes the smile and kindness she offers as she engages you. There are no words to explain the sentiments of the heart or the impact of visiting Korah. I cannot imagine the impact of living in Korah.
Thus, LoPa has decided to couple our efforts with two NGOs on the ground in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, who are introducing a long-term feeding program and scholarship program in Korah. LoPa will donate the proceeds directly to Korah's relief. Come help us help those desperate, but hopeful for change, at Korah by attending the first LoPa show on December 8th and 9th from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Paula Brookshire will host the show at 5925 Brixworth Drive in Tyler, TX. She can be reached at 903-372-9866. You can also check out our merchandise on our facebook page: LoPa Art.