Lou Calen is first and foremost a human project, based on sharing and goodwill. Deeply tied to the village where it was born, the project is dedicated to promote the particular history and provencal culture of Cotignac towards the largest audience.
Its meaningful action is a real asset for the whole Cotignac community, and this is why Lou Calen is such an important part of the village’s cultural and economical development.
Heritage restoration, development of local cultural initiatives, global solidarity… the flame of Lou Calen has never been so strong.
In 2015, the NGO « Cotignac Côté Culture » opened the « La Falaise Art Centre » in Cotignac. Ideally situated in the heart of the village, it presents exhibitions which are open to all artistic disciplines such as painting, sculpture, photography and new forms of expression. Visitors of all ages are welcome to discover the works of recognized or emerging artists often inaccessible in remote villageIn addition to the art exhibitions, the Art Centre also hosts classic and generalist music concerts, conferences, and also supports other cultural events outside its walls.
In addition to the art exhibitions, the Art Centre also hosts classic and generalist music concerts, conferences, and also supports other cultural events outside its walls.
Lou Calen supports heritage preservation projects such as the restoration of two historic monuments in Cotignac:
- Saint Martin Chapel (1174): repair of the roof and frame, restoration of the facade and removal of the floor.
- Watchtowers (12th century) located at the top of the imposing and famous Tuf cliff of the village : addition of glazing to the crests of the two medieval towers to protect the buildings from de-stabilization due to rainwater erosion.
Baraka Community Partnerships is a small UK based charity, founded in 2007, that operates in Zambia and Laos. The charity is mainly educational but also has healthcare, water and sanitation initiatives.
The ethos of Baraka is all about working with communities and schools rather than dictating to them. Baraka aims to get community engagement with their projects and, where possible, empower communities to contribute in some way, whether by providing labour or supplying basic raw materials.
Baraka firmly believes that the long term route out of poverty is through education, and approximately 80% of its funds are focused on improving educational infrastructure and resources for rural communities and children.
The Baraka Learning Centre, Zambia
The Learning Centre, which opened last year is an educational hub and resource to many schools in a rural part of Zambia near Kapiri-Mposhi. These schools have no computers and lack basic resources such as books, desks and in some cases even classrooms. Baraka aims to help raise the standards of education in the area and anticipates 15,000-20,000 visits per annum to the Centre.
The Laos Book Boats
Baraka funds two library boats that operate up and down the Mekong and Ou Rivers. The boats reach rural schools that are often inaccessible by road and conduct educational games and learning sessions as well as handing out educational resources plus soaps, toothpaste etc. They are an invaluable boost to the schools and a source of joy and delight to the kids who always rush down to the river bank in anticipation when the boats arrive.
The Zambia Medical trips
Baraka conducts a biannual volunteer medical trip to Zambia in partnership with a Canadian Hospital. Purpose of this trips is to save and enhance lifes of poeple with a difficult acces to health care, the last trip in 2019 allowed to meet over 1200 patients in mobile health clinic created for the occasion.
Baraka supports over 20 schools in Zambia and helps with the basic necessities such as providing books, desks, chalk and pens as well as the big things such as toilet blocks and classrooms. They also help by providing and training teachers and back this up with a sponsorship programme that currently has put over 100 kids back into school or college.