Over the years, your support has allowed us to build and fix water wells and latrines, which gave over 17,000 people clean and safe access in Burkina Faso. Plus, we've put 30 girls in school with the supplies they needed to be successful in both Burkina Faso and Sierra Leone. In Minnesota we've mentored a dozen artists of color, have created dozens of community public art projects, taught art to thousands of children, and increased literacy through access to diverse books followed by art projects for increased comprehension. Now, we need your help to raise $10,000 to expand arts and education programming plus entrepreneurship projects.
What is herARTS in Action?
herARTS in Action is a 501c3 nonprofit founded in 2011, awarded status in 2014, and in 2018 obtained NGO status in Burkina Faso. The mission of herARTS in Action is to create an equitable world through increased access and social justice with art. We achieve this by producing art, facilitating art experiences, and selling artwork that educates on global topics, creates social change, and funds sustainability projects globally and locally. We currently work in Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, and Minnesota.
The vision is that herARTS in Action contributes to,
1) sustainable socioeconomic status, including education, employment, and health, for women and girls based on the stated need and desires of the people and in a manner respectful of the culture,
2) educational success for children by providing supplies needed in and outside the classroom, and
3) nontraditional access to visual art for those most marginalized to attain art skills and experiences.
Sarah’s experience in Burkina Faso in her words
In 2011 I visited the West African country of Burkina Faso as an inspired artist. I arrived there with much enthusiasm to create but unaware of the magnitude of the country’s poor living conditions. I quickly learned about the low literacy rate, which is one of the lowest in the world. I also learned that only 11% of the people have access to toilets and 50% have access to clean water. While I knew the region faced poverty, I didn’t realize that it ranked in the top five most impoverished countries in the world.
At some point during my visit I fell ill from the poor sanitation and unsafe water and ended up in the hospital instead of on the plane that was to take me home (I literally heard the plane take off from my hospital room). Now, bedridden in the hospital with access to care that many Burkinabe didn’t, not only did I know the conditions, but I could empathize from firsthand experience with their daily struggles to a lack of access to clean water and sanitation.
However, just because I saw need through my lens, it didn’t mean Burkina Faso needed me to do anything. By having respectful dialogues, collaboration with the villagers of Tiebele resulted in a decision to bring water and sanitation to the village in order for them to get healthy to attend education and obtain employment.
When I returned to the US after a month’s stay, I researched water projects to bring attention to the need in Tiebele. Unfortunately, no organizations were working, nor willing to, in the south-central region of Burkina Faso.
Inspired by the Burkinabe spirit, I was called to take on the task and started herARTS in Action. My dedication and passion for this work have found me conducting business out of my one-bedroom apartment that I share with my daughter and local coffee shops. I don’t have an art studio, but create art on my living room floor with my daughter next to me working on her own projects. I’ve also had the privilege to partner with Burkinabe artists, and I hope to continue partnerships with other artists to create awareness about the work with the village.