Expanding Craft and Community Resilience

April 20, 2023

The first people of Dominica’s story is one of rich cultures, interwoven heritages, relentless determination and strength. Their tale continues to be told today and it has spanned over a thousand years. Now, under the steadfast leadership of the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica; supported by the Government of Canada and the UK, EnGenDER is helping the Kalinago to tell a new story of resilience. Traditionally a crafting community, EnGenDER is helping the Kalinago expand their offering with new woodwork and craft skills to boost their economic productivity.

Amelia Bedminister is one of five Kalinago women who graduated from the EnGenDER Woodwork and Carving Training Programme, and shared how the training has positively impacted her life. “This training empowers me and the others to contribute to the tourism industry and to share that knowledge with future generations” Amelia explained. The new skill and knowledge served as a launching pad for women like Bedminister to carve out a niche for themselves, to excel in trades that are traditionally predominantly practiced by men.

The woodwork and craft training equipped 12 members of the Kalinago community with the know-how of using state of the art equipment to blend woodwork with handicraft. This training was paired with the funding needed to expand and each person received a kit valued at $555 USD+ with basic tools to start their own woodwork business. But the Kalinago story has always been one of collaboration and togetherness and the training allowed them to connect further as they explored this new skill, and a co-op was formed! Now the group is working together as they build capacity and increase their income and livelihoods.