Solace was founded in 2002 to respond to the needs of women in Afghanistan with education and economic opportunity. Our mission was to create community partnerships and to establish self-sustainable economic development in emerging nations. In 2004 we expanded our area of work to Indonesia and Nepal. Once again we focused on setting up micro-businesses and creating educational opportunities by building schools.
In Banda Ache, Indonesia, one of the areas hit hardest by the Tsunami, at the request of the community Solace developed twelve micro-business projects. In Phaplu Village, Nepal there was a need for a community-based school. The current public school in Phaplu was overcrowded and under-staffed so Solace focused on small class sizes 20-25 students (as opposed to 50+), staffed with highly educated teachers from Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.
Our work in Afghanistan ended in 2005 when a building moratorium was put in place by the government, ending our ability to develop projects. From 2005 until present, Solace International has projects located in Africa, Asia, Central and South America.
HOW WE WORK
We choose and design our projects by fostering genuine relationships within the communities where we work. Solace does not impose a standard model of development. Instead, we collaborate to find solutions to oftentimes complex and deep-rooted problems.
Solace Success Projects
Income Generating Businesses
Rainwater Harvesting Systems
Cottage Industry Projects
NATE YORK Executive Director & FounderNATE YORK Executive Director & Founder
MEET NATENate York, Executive Director and founder of Solace International Nate York’s exposure to humanitarian aid and international travel began at a young age. Nate grew up in East Asia the son of missionaries. His exposure to poverty, environmental destruction and lack of educational opportunities for women molded him into the driven, passionate person he is today. In 1995 during the height of the Bosnian war he traveled to the Balkans to volunteer with an international aid organization directing supplies for U.N. operations. In early 2002 Nate traveled to Northern Afghanistan and worked with a program distributing educational supplies for U.N.I.C.E.F. Returning to the U.S. later the same year, Nate completed his BA in Liberal Studies from Alaska Pacific University. On campus, he organized a team of supporters and raised funds to build two schools for girls in Afghanistan. With momentum from the completion of these schools, he founded Solace International. Nate's passion for helping people has served him all his life and it and it has shaped and inspired all those who work with Solace.
Michelle Winston Director of Cottage IndustryMichelle Winston Director of Cottage Industry
MEET MichelleMichelle Winston started as a corporate advertising professional but her love of fashion, design and art lead her to Asia where she worked as a product developer and buyer. She then joined Solace and combined her design background with her other passion and skill – international aid work. Michelle traveled to Afghanistan to work with women in the northern province of Jawjan – launching Solace’s first cottage industry program. Her projects employed over 500 women in several villages. Michelle has a natural talent and ability to connect meaningfully with village women – despite cultural and logistical challenges. Combing her people and fashion skills Michelle served for several years as the Project Director in Nepal overseeing all aspects of the Fair Wage Cottage Industry Project. Michelle currently resides in the USA with her daughter fulfilling the role of administrator and traveling to maintain the cottage industry.
AYUB AZIZI Field DirectorAYUB AZIZI Field Director
MEET AyubAyub was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan. Because of the dangers posed by the Taliban, Ayub fled with his family to the Northern City of Sheberghan. Ayub joined the Solace team in 2003 and was vital to the success of every Solace project in Afghanistan. In 2007 Ayub and his family moved to Malawi where he became the Field Director for Solace. His tireless work in developing the Solace Mangochi Fish Farm has led to one of the few successful fish production facilities in a country where most other farms – funded into the millions of dollars – had failed. Currently Ayub and his wife are residing in Florida seeking political asylum and volunteering as director of production on the Solace Organic Farm Project.
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Violence against civilians never leads to peaceful dialogues. Instead there is a visceral human desire for revenge and retribution.
Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a way to directly connect farmers to consumers. Customers buy monthly “shares” of the harvest and reap the benefits of getting fresh produce directly from the farm to their kitchen. The farmer is able to plan accordingly and know that they have a set number of customers each month to provide to. Barring a disastrous harvest the benefits are fresher produce, lower cost fruits and vegetables and access to heirloom varieties that are usually not available in grocery stores. It benefits the local economy as the money spent stays close to home.
CSA members are committed members of the farm, and their relationship with us is vital to our continuance.