June Exhibit: Water is Life Kenya
This solo show of Yolanda Chetwynd's art work exhibits mono prints, watercolors and oil paintings on canvas completed over a 40 year period. A full color catalogue is available at the exhibition opening. All of the sales from the show will be donated directly to the local nonprofit: Water Is Life Kenya (WILK). WILK has been transforming women’s lives in Kenya for the last 10 years. For a more expansive idea of what WILK is all about, what follows is a statement by Joyce Tannian, the founder and CEO of WILK:
“You who are new to all of this may ask: Why water? Why Kenya? Water is Life Kenya…Who is that? Here are a few answers. Reflecting on 10 years of my life in Kenya: It all started with my going as a volunteer in 2006, a drought year, to help girls get to school, then seeing a bigger need, the need for clean water, the cause of much suffering and stress for people, especially women and girls. In 2007 we formed the organization Water is Life Kenya to address this need and helped our first community, Imisigiyio, solve its water problem by drilling a borehole. We had to learn everything—how to raise money, how to work with people, the procedure for drilling boreholes, how to maneuver with government requirements, how to find reputable drilling companies, and much more! We undertook a number of water projects up until 2009, when a devastating drought struck, making the drought of 2006 pale in comparison. This opened our eyes to the constant challenge of drought cycles. Witnessing devastating income loss caused by livestock deaths, we realized they needed tools to improve the management of their livestock. Through discussions with community members, leaders, and livestock experts, we developed Water is Life Kenya’s “Livestock as a Business” program, started in 2010, through which we have already trained hundreds of farmers, helping them increase family incomes that pay for life’s needs and education while building on indigenous skills. Our approach has been to identify communities with acute need for water, form close, regular relationships in which trust is built, cultivating good leaders skilled at managing challenges/conflicts. Fun is had; meals are shared, laying a foundation for a strong partnership. Together we find the best, technically viable and manageable solution, and then build up their long-term income-generating power through our “Livestock as a Business” program. We dig wells using reputable companies, equip wells with durable equipment, like pumps and generators, build well-constructed water tanks, pump houses, troughs, etc. This long-lasting hardware, in the hands of well-trained and engaged community members, serves them for a long time. Our projects improve the health of communities, saves thousands of women hundreds of thousands of hours by having water close by. These hours are now used for resting, working, monitoring their children’s homework, farming, livestock keeping, income generation and adult literacy classes. Time…what a gift…flowing directly from the blessing of clean water! Ultimately, Water is Life Kenya succeeds if communities sustain the long-term benefits of water, livestock, education and income generation from our efforts. We are proud of being known to local leaders and thousands of community members as the organization in their region that keeps promises and helps people in things that are most important to them. This show celebrates the artistry and generosity of Yolanda Chetwynd whose continual flow of kindness is made even more evident by her willingness to donate all proceeds from the sales of her creative output to Water is Life Kenya. Many, many others have also contributed to our success by giving their time and money to support our shared commitment of bringing water to the thirsty and hope to the hopeless in Kenya. We are extremely grateful to you all. With God’s help and your generous support, we hope to continue to help our sisters and brothers solve critical problems in concrete, long-term, and life-transforming ways for the next 10 years!