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Peace Corps Volunteers Create Pottery Studio in the Eastern Caribbean

Local artisans learn skills for economic development

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 26, 2012 – Peace Corps volunteers Joan Sara Romm of Philadelphia, Pa., and Donn Hedman of Smicksburg, Pa., are working to create a pottery studio that will be used by 50 local women and youth in St. Lucia. The project fosters economic growth and reconnects community members with traditional pottery making. A portion of the funds for the studio are being raised through the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP), a program that supports Peace Corps volunteer community projects worldwide.

Magnifying glass iconPeace Corps volunteer Joan Sara Romm and pottery students in St. Lucia.“There exists a rich tradition of pottery-making on our island. However, the making of pottery objects is presently limited to the hand building of traditional coal pots and platters” said Romm, 61, who has been serving as a community development volunteer since January 2011. “This project responds to a community-identified need to remain competitive with neighboring craft communities. The workshop will introduce a new craft skill that fills a niche, evolves from Arawak tradition, and gives an edge to the crafts made in the area.”

The new pottery studio will be located in the local craft and cultural center, which also houses the tourist information center. Romm and Hedman began holding workshops in February with 30 students aged 17 to 55 and collaborating with a local foundation to teach students management and technical skills in hand-crafted and wheel-thrown pottery. PCPP funds will be used to build a wheel and purchase a kiln, clay, hand tools and glazing supplies.

Magnifying glass icon Peace Corps volunteers Joan Sara Romm and Donn Hedman are working to create a pottery studio that will be used by 50 local women and youth in St. Lucia.Community members will purchase materials for studio tables and shelving, and pay for equipment freight charges and provide for labor and transit charges. In order to receive funding through the PCPP, a community must make a 25 percent contribution to the total project and outline success indicators for the individual projects. This helps ensure community ownership and a greater chance of long-term sustainability. One hundred percent of each tax-deductible PCPP donation goes toward a development project.

Those interested in supporting Romm and Hedman’s project in the Eastern Caribbean can visit: www.peacecorps.gov/donate. Their project number is: 538-009.

About Peace Corps/Eastern Caribbean: More than 3,770 Peace Corps volunteers have served in the Eastern Caribbean since the program was established in 1961. Currently, 115 volunteers serve in the Eastern Caribbean. Volunteers work in the areas of community development, business and education. Volunteers are trained and work in the following languages: English and French Creole (Kweyol).

About the Peace Corps: Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 200,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 9,095 volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.

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