Parties & Openings
Feb. 10 – Hudson
BlkQueer Romantics Reception
Feb. 3 – Hudson
Jan. 25 – North Adams
The 50 Card Project Reception
With Help From Our Community, Indwe Soars Higher
Lisa Green reports from Great Barrington. Rural Intelligence focuses on a four-county region, but the philanthropic nature of our residents often brings other parts of the world into our own universe. Case in point: Susie Weekes-Roeder, a dynamo who runs a Berkshire-based staging business and serves as a Construct board member, decided to start a Montessori-based school adjacent to an orphanage in South Africa…and did it. Now a 501 (c) 3 organization, the Indwe Learning Center (named for the national bird) in Illovo, South Africa sits on the border of the Mother of Peace orphanage, which cares for children who have been impacted by the AIDS crisis. On Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the Marketplace in Great Barrington, Mass., Weekes-Roeder introduced the school’s head, Iris Canham, who was in town for a week to help raise funds for the Center. Both women spoke about the Center’s mission: a commitment to educate, empower and engage the children, many of whom come from “child-headed households.” It was hard to hold back tears upon learning about the children, and invitations to visit the Center in South Africa suddenly seemed tempting. “Once you meet these kids, there’s no turning back,” said one board member who has spent time at Indwe. [Above, Iris Canham, head of the school, with actor local resident and Indwe supporter Jayne Atkinson.]
Susie Weekes-Roeder with Shirley Blanchard and Steve Blanchard; Indwe Learning Center’s brochure illustrates its work, “From Tragedy to Triumph.”
Writer Monica Bossinger and Charlie Weekes, son of Susie Weekes; Diane Gentry from New Jersey and Elizabeth Olenbush from Mill River.
Don Roeder, retired professor of Botany and Environmental Studies at Bard Colleges and member of Indwe’s board, with Kerry Millikin and Suzi Peel, vice chair, who spearheaded the first World AIDS Conference.
The slide show opened a window into the life and children at Indwe Learning Center in South Africa; Susie Weekes-Roeder delivers a passionate and moving plea for support.
Karen Mercer and Diane Dillon stand beside a display of beaded jewelry and other artwork created by the children at Indwe.