Just 3 km before Gondar was the Ploughshare Women's Craft Training Centre. Tesfalem Abera the General Manager greeted us and informed us of the history of the centre and how they are now after many years self-sufficient financially. The disadvantaged women come here for 3 months and then return to their villages with a skill and hopefully a source of income. Gas fired pottery with donated kilns from various embassies around the world. The bottle gas has to be imported from neighbouring Sudan.
The souvenir shop cash register relieved a few of their birrs with traditional Amhara woven shawls, pottery, basketry and screen printed T shirts taken aboard the Coaster.
An excellent 2 min 33 sec overview of the centre by Tesfalem
Across the road ወለቃ (የፈላሻዎች መንደር) were several craft stalls with 'Stars of David' and the former Falasha village of Wolleka. It was once the home to a thriving population of Falashas (Ethiopian Jews) and most were airlifted to Israel in the 1980s and today a few remain. After the adoption of Christianity as the state religion, Falashas had their land confiscated for refusing to convert. To survive, many became skilled craftspeople. Sadly, the pottery for which they were once famous has mostly degenerated into half-hearted art, though the figurine trinkets do make cool souvenirs.
Ploughshare Women Crafts Training Centre
Friday, January 02, 2015
Gonder, Amhara, Ethiopia