The community in Bukomansimbi, Masaka in Uganda, though they too had lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, being in a remote location allowed them to carry on harvesting and planting Mutuba trees. The main problem they face now not being able to sell the barkcloth, as a result they cannot afford to buy necessities. The Bark to the Roots (B2TR) initiative have come up with the idea to raise funds to support the community during these times.
Bark to the Roots (B2TR) is a José Hendo initiative anchored in the ethos of the sustainable development goals, reminding us to preserve both our heritage and the environment. It endeavours to share and raise an awareness of the importance of barkcloth and the mutuba tree from which barkcloth is made. In 2016 B2TR launched a 1 million mutuba tree planting campaign to increase the sustainability of the practice.
Through the one-million mutuba tree-planting campaign, B2TR is promoting a practice that was recognised by UNESCO. In 2005 Barkcloth was proclaimed a ‘Masterpiece of Intangible Cultural Heritage’ and in 2008 it was eventually inscribed on the Representative list. Barkcloth is one of the oldest cloths made by man. The technique by which the bark of the mutuba tree is manually processed to create barkcloth is centuries old, it predates the weaving era. Planting more mutuba trees is saving the environment as the mutuba tree is crucial to the balancing of the eco system where it grows. Thus saving a heritage and the environment in one.
London-based eco-sustainable fashion designer José Hendo who uses barkcloth innovatively in all her collections is the founder of this initiative. It has now grown from an initiative to an NGO. She felt the need to connect to the community that has kept this tradition alive and the desire to bring barkcloth to the forefront of contemporary design and manufacture globally.
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