by Barbara Sherf
Longtime Mt. Airy resident Betsy Teutsch is embarking on a book tour with the recent release of “100 Under $100; One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women.”
Three years in the making and published by She Writes Press, the author outlines over 100 initiatives that cost under $100 each, empower women around the world and encourage readers to get involved and become educated on global issues.
Teutsch, 62, has broken the book down into 11 sectors, such as a category on Domestic Technology that includes improved and low-cost cooking, sanitation and laundering methods.
“I felt this was an area often overlooked by men in terms of the time and effort women in developing countries spend on taking laundry to the river and washing it by hand with a washboard. It can take an entire day to do the laundry,” said Teutsch.
But on page 73, the reader learns of the GiraDora washing machine that utilizes a plastic drum powered by foot pedals operated from a seated position and slated to sell for around $40. She also notes that a Philadelphia University industrial design student duo, Eliot Coven and Aaron Stathum, designed the Up-Stream, a laundry system assembled horizontally with a rope configured as pedals and constructed for under $20 in materials found in any hardware store.
“Their design concept has stalled due to lack of funding, but I wanted to include it in the hopes that an investor will get behind the concept and bring it to market.” Teutsch describes herself as a “megaphone for these concepts. We know how to lower carbon footprints and get people out of poverty; it’s a question of putting the resources together. It’s been my observation that the cheaper the solution, the less likely it is to get it out into the mass market, like using urine instead of synthetic materials as fertilizer.”
On page 81, the reader learns in Tip #62 that human urine is rich in nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous, exactly the macronutrients plants need for growing. The Norwegian nongovernmental organization, Design without Borders, has refined a $3 unisex ecological domestic urine collector that provides the privacy needed by women who participated in the design process, along with a feature that minimizes the smell caused when urine breaks down and forms ammonia.
A Fargo, North Dakota, native, Teutsch met her husband while both were students in Jerusalem. She and Dr. David Teutsch, a rabbi and professor, settled into a home on Lincoln Drive in 1986, raising their two children, Zachary, now 31, and Nomi, 27.
In addition to her profession as a Judaica artist, Teutsch has served as Communications Director of GreenMicroFinancin, an organization promoting affordable paths out of rural poverty. In her spare time Teutsch also launched three local chapters of Dining for Women, a national network that supports women’s grassroots initiatives.
Renowned for her contemporary Jewish ceremonial objects and wedding contracts, Betsy’s design background came into play in the layout of “100 under $100.” … “At first it was supposed to be an e-book, but once I received permission from photographers globally to use their images, I knew it would make a beautiful book as well. We have had an initial run of 2,500 color copies.”
She Writes Press is an independent publishing company founded to serve women writers everywhere. Teutsch has designed custom ketubot (Jewish marriage contracts) for hundreds of couples and is the coauthor of “The Encyclopedia of Jewish Symbols.” She has also created over 10,000 tambourines.
Teutsch majored in Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, has a masters degree in Jewish education and is an environmental activist. She credits the the She Writes editors, her children and her husband, a teacher at the Shalom Reconstructionist Seminary School in Wyncote, for supporting her through the writing process.
“He has written several books, and as a writer I felt very isolated. He would come home from work, and over dinner … he listened and kept me on track. I was on fire and really wrote the bulk of the book in seven months.”
Regarding the research for the book, Teutsch was shocked to learn that the leading cancer killer of women in the global south, cervical cancer, can be detected with a vinegar application and treatment during the same visit, which would save countless women’s lives.
For each copy of the paperback and e-book sold, Teutsch will donate a life-saving dose of Misoprostol, an inexpensive generic drug that prevents post-partum hemorrhage, the cause of the majority of maternal deaths worldwide. More information at www.100under100.org.
Upcoming appearances and book-signings for Teutsch include: Ten Thousand Villages, 8331 Germantown Ave., on Friday, March 27, 3 to 6 p.m.; and Chestnut Hill Rotary on Wednesday, April 8, 7:30 a.m., at the CH Presbyterian Church, 8855 Germantown Ave.
Flourtown resident Barbara Sherf tells the stories of businesses and individuals through www.CommunicationsPro.com and www.CaptureLifeStories.com To have her speak before your group, call 215-990-9317 or e-mail CaptureLifeStories@gmail.com.