campaign: Weaving for Water
raising the money: Noah Barclay
raised so far: $510
mission statement: “It is my hope that this weaving project can spread across the country, and by simply getting a group of friends together a few hours a week we can make a difference in the world.”
Noah was born in Ethiopia and spent the first six years of his life there. After being adopted and moving to the United States, he rediscovered his culture through the art of weaving on homemade looms. We caught up with this special young guy and his mom, Julie, to ask how he came up with the idea to start Weaving for Water.
Noah, how did you learn to weave?
Last spring a visiting artist came into my third grade class and taught us how to weave. I saw people weave in Ethiopia but never tried it before last year.
What inspired you to form a weaving group at your school?
My fourth grade teacher knew I was doing Weaving for Water and she asked the class if they wanted to do weaving with me and everybody said yes so we started to do it! We were lucky to have the looms from third grade in storage so our custodian brought them out. Right now there are at least fifty works in progress. We are going to sell them at the Hockinson Bazaar in December.
How big are the looms?
The biggest thing I’ve made is from a 11 by 14-inch picture frame. The final product is a 9 by 10-inch weaving. The other weavings we make are 5 inches by 5 inches.
What are your favorite colors to use?
I like making big weavings that show off bright colors. I like bold colors that pop out like an explosion of color on my loom.
Julie, when do you think Noah discovered his ability to teach through action?
When Noah came into our family three years ago he came with a ‘Rafiki’ kind of wisdom. Once he was able to communicate in English, people listened because for the most part he spoke deep from his heart with wisdom beyond his years. It doesn’t hurt that he has stories of how harsh it was to survive in Ethiopia. In our idealistic world, his words really penetrated deep to the core.
So was this how he was able to interest his classmates in weaving as well?
Noah has an amazing teacher, Mrs. O’Neill, who believes in finding life lessons beyond the school desk. When she first heard about Weaving for Water, she immediately said, “Sign me up!” Between Noah and his teacher, they have both done an amazing job of educating his peers.
This summer, while visiting family on Lopez Island, he had a chance meeting with a 17-year-old boy named Solomon who was returning to his village in Ethiopia to help dig a freshwater well for his family. Noah was amazed that someone who had been in America for ten years could still help his biological family in Ethiopia. Noah brainstormed how he could help with the Water for Anasi Project and the Weaving for Water idea was born. He had brought his weaving to Lopez Island to show his Aunt Sue and when she offered him $5 for a weaving, Noah’s brain began to spin with the possibilities. Suddenly, Noah was weaving furiously so he could sell as many weavings as possible before Solomon flew out to Ethiopia this fall. He knew he couldn’t achieve the output he had hoped for, so he enlisted the help of several other classmates who also knew how to weave from his third grade class.
Noah, do you have any words of advice for someone trying to think of a way to begin fundraising for charity: water?
Well, if there is something you are really good at and it is fun to do, you can use your talent to make a difference. Do something because you can do it and because you love to do it.
Besides weaving, what do you like to do for fun?
I like to do art. I like to spend time with my family. I like to play the piano. I like to go outside and ride my bike. I like to go to school and I like to read.
Any idea what you want to be when you grow up?
When I grow up I would like to make a free place for poor people that don’t have a house and food to live.
And finally, how do you feel when you’re weaving?
Calm, safe. I feel sometimes like I’m making a difference.