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Artisans

African Hope Crafts

Even though 25 percent of South Africa’s population suffers from AIDS, the people of Cape Town will not let the disease destroy their hopes and dreams. In fact, a Christian job creation program, African Hope Crafts (AHC), specifically reaches out to men and women who are HIV positive and unable to find work. While they create products they learn proper health practices and receive encouragement from each other. The spokesperson for AHC writes “Just giving HIV-positive suffers a reason to get out of bed each day is a real joy. Our time together is about much more than the money they earn.”

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Anadoule

Anadoule artisan group is located in the Turkish central city of Anatolia. This group is providing opportunities for women to learn skills in handmade crafts in order to provide much-needed income for their families and keep the Turkish culture alive. Each artisan has a unique story. Faitma is an artisan who needed to work to provide for her family because her husband no longer works and she has several children. The work of handmaking these products has provided the income that Faitma desperately needs for her family. Anadoule is truly making a lasting impact in the lives of these Turkish artisans and their families.

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Ayu Sewing Project

Impoverished Indonesian mothers struggle with providing basic necessities for their families. Most of their husbands receive only around $100 a month salary. These families live from month to month and barely make enough money to feed their families, much less provide for other needs such as schooling.

Ayu Sewing Project was created to help Indonesian women learn a trade that they could use to support their families using their new skills. These women are taught how to sew and make unique scarves. By making only a few scarves per week, these mothers are increasing their monthly income by 40%! The women use the money to pay for their kids’ schooling, medical, and rental expenses.

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Back to Africa

Back to Africa began in 2008 as an offshoot of Heart of the Bride Ministries, Inc. The primary objective of Back to Africa is family preservation and care for families at risk. The artisans, most of whom are single mothers and/or refugees, lived in extreme poverty before they began creating Back to Africa jewelry.

Mama Faith, pictured here, has been working with Back to Africa since 2008 as a bead artisan. A mother of 4, her income from Back to Africa enables her to consistently feed and clothe her 4 children, send them to school, give to her local church, and help their family and neighbors who are not as fortunate. She says, “I have seen God in these necklaces. My husband got saved and baptized! I am a very happy woman. He used to drink and now he goes to church, and helps with the beads.”

As of December 2012, artisans reported that the project is benefiting more than 400 people. Back to Africa has seen firsthand how a small paper bead or simple ceramic pendant can profoundly impact a community halfway around the world.

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Bethlehem Carvers

Striving for a better life in the West Bank, the men and women involved with Bethlehem Carvers skillfully find their way through political unrest and financial insecurity. Due to ongoing conflict, tourism has dwindled. This being a main source of income for artisans in the Bethlehem area, their families have suffered tremendously. Bethlehem Carvers allows them to continue this age-old tradition of carving olive wood and into intricate figurines, while marketing products abroad.

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Blessed Hope

Blessed Hope exists to provide creative work, skills development training, and true lasting hope to the women artisans and their families from villages throughout the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal. Labor and sex trafficking are both prevalent within Nepal and the jewelry making jobs and training Blessed Hope provides to the local women are helping to eliminate the desperate situations which often lead to susceptibility to trafficking. Through their partnership with WorldCrafts, the women artisans are paid salaries that make them able to purchase basic necessities for their families such as their children’s school fees, diapers, electricity propane gas to cook with and heat their homes.

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Caucasus Wood

In a former Soviet region convulsed by centuries of conflict, Caucasus Wood offers meaningful, sustainable employment for those in poverty. The artisan group employs women and men, young and old, all skillfully continuing age-old traditions working with wood and metal. Their raw material of choice comes from a local dogwood, or kizil, which yields a very sturdy type of wood and is often used for cart axels.

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Channapatna Handicrafts

Channapatna Handcrafts is located in a quaint southern India town. The artisans use a special skill called lac-turnery, a 200-year-old craft traced to the reign of a royal ruler who invited artisans from Persia to train the local artisans in making wooden toys. The process of shaping and coloring the wood is carried out on a lathe, which is a machine that turns the piece of wood while using a sharp tool to shape it. Artisans then apply lacquer of bright and vibrant colors made by mixing natural and nontoxic vegetable dyes.

These lac-turnery products are carved out of hale wood, also called ivory wood, a local species of tree that grows widely throughout South India. Usually the entire tree is not felled and the tree grows back. Thus materials used in the craft are natural and eco-friendly.

In the last decade, with no proper support in marketing, the number of Channapatna artisans has declined considerably, and the craft was dying. With help from WorldCrafts, the artisans of Channapatna have been able to reach the global market, thereby helping the sales of handmade products and improving the livelihoods of the artisans and their families. WorldCrafts has empowered the artisans by reviving the craft, providing better working conditions and sustainable incomes, and creating employment opportunities in the community.

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ChildVoice International

In the war-torn country of Uganda, the traumatizing impact of years of war on children—particularly girls—demands a targeted and comprehensive approach to facilitate successful psychosocial healing and community reconciliation. Increasingly, girls are being exploited at earlier ages and for more brutal uses, such as sexual slavery, chattel for trafficking, and as armed combatants. ChildVoice International has an emphasis on sanctuary, psychosocial and spiritual counseling, education, skill building, reintegration support, and access to basic health care, providing girls with the opportunity to develop assets to protect themselves against the vulnerabilities that for so long defined them, as well as achieve the restoration and wholeness that has long eluded them. Furthermore, ChildVoice’s programs are designed to help prepare these children, their families, and their communities for their transition home. Ninety-three percent (93%) of the girls ChildVoice has served in the last 6 years are back in their communities, raising their families and working in meaningful jobs, not dependent on aid or outside help.

At age 37, Betty is an experienced mother with 8 children. She had no one to help her with the children financially until she joined the ChildVoice jewelry program. Since working with ChildVoice, she is able to buy uniforms and books and send all 8 of her children to school—a large accomplishment in itself. Betty’s favorite part of the job is the bead rolling itself. She says she is grateful that people will continue to buy her jewelry through WorldCrafts, as it has helped her to make these opportunities in her life and her children’s lives possible.

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China Ethnic Crafts

Although women of China believe in tradition, they desire to break away from the cycle of poverty, domestic abuse, and the lack of education. For generations, Chinese women have embellished their clothing with extravagant colors and intricate designs, but they only began marketing their talent when they joined China Ethnic Crafts. Now, women can embroider flowers, birds, and butterflies on accessory items. This work earns their families extra income to supplement rice farming and send their children to secondary school.

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