Helping create jobs for women in Zambia is essential to our mission.

The “God Given Gift Club” is a group of fifteen mothers with children at the Mama Bakhita Cheshire Home for disabled children, which many of you know the AACDP has been supporting for 12 years. The GGGC are now producing a well-made doll that comes in five skin tones, from light to dark, and the doll-makers are ready to take their work to the next level: running their own small business as a cooperative, with a managerial staff made up of Sydney Mwamba, Tina Manda, and Bernadette Musenge — all educated (with help from the AACDP) to do just this.

During the last three years this group has developed the skills to produce a well-crafted product, created a method of cooperative labor that works smoothly, and found local venues to sell dolls. This income has generated more stability for their families; they are able to pay rent, buy better food, and meet other challenges such as sickness or emergencies.

The goal of the Zambezi Dolls of Color Campaign is to sell dolls for a variety of prices, depending on the complexity of the doll. This is a fundraiser for helping these women to transition into running their business independently. After one year we hope the project will generate enough income to continue on its own.

Each doll is completely handmade; a one-of-a-kind treasure that any child will love to hug. The organic cotton doll material is hand-stitched, and the dolls are dressed in colorful, removable Zambian chitenge clothing. These dolls are meant for play, and no two are alike. They each have their own personality and Zambian name. We believe every child should have the option to play with a doll that has skin that looks like theirs.

To receive a doll, please donate $100, right here at the top of this page. Your address will show up on the PayPal notice to me. Or send a check to AACDP, POB 3000 PMB 3051, West Tisbury, MA 02575. We also welcome donations, of any size, toward this effort. Please forward this to others interested in promoting financial empowerment for women globally.

Together we can make it possible for these women run their business independently, while creating jobs for women.

Thank you,

Marsha Winsryg

Director, AACDP

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If you prefer the small group to the large, this tour just might be the best tour of Florence you will ever find.

Other reasons are best stated by Ruth Kirchmeier, West Tisbury artist and art tour participant in October 2014:

“You are in for a feast of the senses. When you travel to Florence with Marsha, you are going with someone who is at ease with the language and the labyrinthine streets, and whose connections there are like her family and so you are warmly welcomed into their lives. Her high card is the fabulous Fabrizio Gori, whose unusual insights on art, architecture, history and culture in Florence are belied by his gentle, wry tone. Did I mention his restaurant is one of the best in the city?”

You will stay in one of two apartments very near to one another, two minutes from Palazzo Pitti and five from Ponte Vecchio. Because they are on a very narrow street behind Via Romana, it is quiet. At one end is the tiny, charming Piazza delle Passera (Plaza of the Sparrows) where you will find the even tinier Cafe degli Artigiani , a lovely place to have your first cappuccino and pasta crema of the day, or perhaps, spremuto, fresh squeezed juice from blood oranges. In the same square can be found home-made gelato in heavenly flavors like blood orange sorbetto and espresso gelato using the same coffee used at the Café degli Artisti across the street. These and three little restaurants are literally 50 feet from your door.

DIY breakfast supplies will be furnished at your apartment and afterwards we meet at a cafe to look at the day’s plan and either follow or amend what has been scheduled.

Typically, I will guide you into town winding around the medieval streets with a museum or church as our destination. After a café or lunch break in town, you have 2 to 3 hours of free time which might be employed in resting on the first day, but is yours to design.

After 2 or 3 days, you will want to explore on your own a bit with the map I will provide for everyone. A city bus pass is part of your packet too. Later we meet for a stroll around the historic neighborhood in which we are staying (called the Oltrarno, other side of the Arno) sometimes with my dear and knowledgeable friend Fabrizio Gori. (Sadly, my dear friend passed away in 2020.)

On other days we will use the whole day to make trips to the exquisite Etruscan hilltop town of Fiesole for a hike through the countryside to the magnificent 350 year old Queen Cypress, as this venerable tree is officially named. Or to the gardens of Villa Peyrun. Or to the Etruscan/Roman ruins. It depends on the group’s choice. What is certain is that we will have a reservation for dinner at Vinandro, a unique little restaurant in Fiesole that prepares Tuscan and Florentine dishes with a seasonal and local menu that changes daily.

We are also invited to Castello Vecchio, a beautiful villa up in the hills above Florence and owned by my gracious friends Manuela and Lucca Brofferrio. They have been supporters of my work in Zambia and when Manuella heard that I was bringing tour groups to Florence to raise money for the AACDP, she offered to open her house and garden to us. It is a rare privilege to enter through those gates!

Come enjoy “la dolce vita” in a way no tourist is able to do. At the same time help me support the Mama Bakhita Center for disabled children in Livingstone, Zambia. It’s all very, very good.

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In December of 2010 a man with a family of seven was illegally fired from his job at PAMA Meats where he had worked for eight years. The reason given was “growing corn in a restricted area”.

For eight years he had worked for the equivalent of $75 dollars a month in substandard housing with his family of seven. There was not enough money to send the children on the bus to school. But at least he knew that at the end of his tenure he would get a nice benefit package which, after eight years amounted to about $3000. Then he was fired for growing corn in a “restricted” area. He protested that no one had told him of this restriction and that other workers were growing corn in the same area. He was given no thirty day warning, no fair hearing and no chance to present his side, as required by law.

This man tried to protest this unfair treatment to PAMA management and was subjected to cancelled appointments and misinformation. Even the Labor Office in Mazabuka, which is charged with helping poor and often illiterate workers receive fair treatment, upheld the PAMA Meat’s illegal firing procedure. He was never informed about his right to a trial at the Industrial Relations Court in Lusaka, or that PAMA had not followed proper procedure. In fact, he was encouraged to take his case to the local court in Mazabuka, which has no jurisdiction in labor matters. Even so, they too judged against him.

Their first house after his firing was an unfinished house with no roof. For two years the family has been surviving as best they can.

In March of 2011 the AACDP learned about the Industrial Relations Court and tried to convince them that deceit and misinformation had been the reason this man had not brought the case to them when it occurred. But again, the court judged against him, saying he should “move on with his life ” because he will never get his terminal benefits or compensation for unfair dismissal. (Why not?) The judge further chastised him for spending his money on the case and “annoying” the court.??!!

He then went to the Legal Aid Board who advised that after all this time, evidence was lacking. Why PAMA’s provable illegal firing was not the important issue here was not explained. He was told that, should he appeal, all the legal costs of both sides would fall to him.

Is it right that a big corporation like PAMA should improperly dismiss a man after eight years, deny him what was owed, and face no penalty? Are the courts so uninterested in the poor? Why is seeking justice annoying?

News from Zambia