Nomadic Notes

Nearly $70,000 Raised for Niger at “Daughters of the Desert”

Posted in Uncategorized by rain4sahara on July 13, 2010

John Algren, Dan Philbrick and Dudley Dudley


Larry Cassidy and Mari Jasmin




Bess presents Dan with a token of appreciation.


RAIN  celebrated its annual gala, hosted by Dan Philbrick, on June 25th.  Held at the majestic Three Rivers Farm, Daughters of the Desert was a celebration of the mothers, women mentors and cooperative artisans in Niger who play a vital role in supporting their children’s schools.  Nearly $70,000 was raised for RAIN’s programs to bring education, food security and livelihoods to partner communities in Niger.  Over 150 Seacoasters came out to show their support. Guests enjoyed the African inspired fare by Bruce Doty of Philbrick’s Fresh Market and had a great time bidding for auction items, which ranged from South African Photo Safari trips to tickets to Dancing With the Stars.  In addition, guests had the opportunity to give directly to RAIN programs, such as installing a school market garden or digging a community well. As a token of appreciation, RAIN Founder Bess Palmisciano presented to host Dan Philbrick an artifact from the historical Rollins family farm: an original hay scale sign, circa early 1800’s. 

Daughters of the Desert also featured a very special guest: RAIN mentor Mari Jasmin Clotaire, who traveled all the way from Niger to New Hampshire to meet and talk with RAIN supporters. Mari Jasmin, along with her fellow mentors, work to help girls age 9-16 succeed in school, convincing parents and teachers about the importance of their education. The mentors teach the girls traditional crafts, counsel them about health, and advocate for them with parents and teachers.  In the six years since the program began, more than 500 girls have been performing better and staying in school longer, and more than 80 women have become mentors. Mari Jasmin was moved by the outpouring of generosity throughout the evening, and happy to meet the many supporters who make RAIN’s programs in Niger a reality. Larry Cassidy, Maine resident and former Peace Corps volunteer in Niger, enjoyed the chance to talk with Mari Jasmin in person. Larry had written letters to the women mentors expressing his gratitude for their dedication to girls’ education. He was thrilled to receive their responses and, now, to meet Mari Jasmin. 

Attendees purchased unique hand crafted items from RAIN’s women’s artisan cooperatives.  RAIN provides seed money, skills training, design and marketing consultation to the artisans, who produce traditional crafts for sale in the United States at fair trade prices. 100% of the proceeds are returned to the women, who then donate 50% of their earnings to support their schools.  In a “Learning and Earning” partnership, the women learn new ways to develop their skills in traditional crafts while earning money for both their families and schools. 

In attendance were former New Hampshire Executive Council member Dudley Dudley, Joanne Lamprey, Joe Keefe, writer Ann Beattie, and RAIN’s Director of Niger Programs, Ibrahim Michel Boubacar.

Michel Boubacar Director of Programs, RAIN Niger Photo: Charter Weeks

Dan Philbrick with Kit and Noele Clews Photo: Charter Weeks

Guests get ready to bring RAIN to Niger… Photo: Charter Weeks


RAIN Board Member Ann Tarlton Photo: Charter Weeks



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