African Hope Crafts
Although a significant percent of South Africa’s population is HIV-positive, the people of Cape Town will not let the virus 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.”
Anadoule artisan group is located in the Turkish central city of Anatolia. It provides opportunities for women to learn skills in handmade crafts in order to provide income for their families and to keep the Turkish culture alive. Each artisan has a unique story. Faitma is an artisan who needed an income to provide for her family. Her husband no longer worked, and she had several children. The work of handcrafting these products provides the earnings Faitma desperately needs for her family. Anadoule makes a lasting impact on the lives of these Turkish artisans and their families.
Ayu Sewing Project
Impoverished Indonesian mothers struggle with providing basic necessities for their families. Most of their husbands receive a salary of only around $100 a month. 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. Originally, they made 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 children's schooling, medical, and rental expenses.
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 in Kenya. The artisans, most of whom are single mothers or refugees or both, 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 children, send them to school, give to her local church, and help her 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.”
The Back to Africa project has benefited more than 400 people. They have seen firsthand how a small paper bead or simple ceramic pendant can profoundly impact a community halfway around the world.
Baptist Friendship House
Baptist Friendship House in New Orleans, Louisiana, works to meet the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of homeless, human trafficking survivors, and those living in poverty. They are a registered Christian Woman’s Job Corp site of National WMU. The artisans learned to create pottery as a part of the therapy provided at Baptist Friendship House. Now these women have turned their hobby into a skill they can use to rebuild their lives.
Begin Anew Refugee Artisan Group
Leaving their homes and coming to a new land with new customs, new rules, and a new language is overwhelming for many refugees. The language barrier creates obstacles as they try to begin a new life. Begin Anew, a Christian Women's Job Corps ministry in Nashville, TN has a mission “to empower individuals in Middle Tennessee to overcome obstacles caused by poverty by providing education, mentoring, and resources.” Begin Anew’s south Nashville site works with refugees to teach them English and to help them become established in their new home. As a WorldCrafts artisan group, Begin Anew teaches a group of women how to hand screen print a variety of times to earn additional income for their families. In the words of Thee, one of the artisans from Myanmar, when you purchase an item handcrafted by Begin Anew, the artisans send you, "Big, Big Thanks!"
Blessed Hope provides creative work, skills development training, and true lasting hope to the women artisans and their families throughout the Himalayan Mountains of Nepal. Labor and sex trafficking are both prevalent within Nepal, and the jobs and training Blessed Hope provides help 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, and propane gas to cook with and heat their homes.
Channapatna Handicrafts is located in a quaint southern Indian town. The artisans use a special skill called lac-turney, 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, a machine that turns pieces of wood while the artisans use sharp tools to shape them. Artisans then apply a vibrantly colored lacquer made by mixing natural, nontoxic vegetable dyes.
These lac-turney products are carved from 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. Therefore, the materials used in the craft are natural and eco-friendly.
In the last decade, without proper support in marketing, the number of Channapatna artisans has declined considerably. The craft was dying. With help of WorldCrafts, the artisans of Channapatna have been able to reach the global market, helping the sales of handmade products and improving the livelihoods of the artisans and their families. WorldCrafts empowers the artisans by reviving the craft, providing better working conditions and sustainable incomes, and creating employment opportunities in the community.
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.
In cities such as Kolkata (Calcutta), India, many women live in traditional patriarchal communities and are not allowed to work outside their homes. ConneXions offers these women the opportunity to collect the raw materials for their quilts and scarves and take them home to produce. This opportunity to work from home and earn a living wage opens the door to economic empowerment for the artisans. With the income received through their employment with ConneXions, the artisans are able to increase the educational opportunities for their children (especially their daughters) as well as help their families survive setbacks, particularly when illness or unemployment strikes.
CWJC of Madison County, AL
Christian Women's Job Corps of Madison County, Alabama, provides intensive courses that include Bible study and computer classes, completely free of charge. Each student is assigned a mentor, and each mentor is committed to a one-on-one relationship to help build the student's self-esteem, self-confidence and skills essential to success in life and work. Through its partnership with WorldCrafts, women are able to earn an income making leather earrings with leather donated from Holtz Leather Company, a local, family-owned business that is committed to making an impact on the lives of people in their community.
CWJC of Monroe, LA
High unemployment rates. Widespread poverty. These are the realities of life for many women in Monroe, Louisiana. To support these women, Christian Women's Job Corps of Monroe, Louisiana, provides encouragement, love, spiritual training and other tools for a better life. As a WorldCrafts artisan group, these women also have the opportunity to earn a living wage, providing financial stability for their families in a safe and loving environment. The work gives them a sense of self-worth and encourages them to believe that with the Father's help they have the promise of hope for the future.
The artisans are so grateful for your support. "I pray for the person who will purchase the item I am making. I ask God to bless them and their family, and I thank Him for allowing them to be a blessing to me and my family." As the artisans work, they pray for the person who receives each item they make and sign their names on the label of each box.
You can also order custom products from CWJC of Monroe at WorldCrafts.org/CWJCMonroeCustomOrders.
CWJC of Rusk County, Texas
Kristina came from a background of abuse and drugs. After crying out to God to save her in her early 20s, she started a new chapter in her life by joining the Christian Women’s Job Corps (CWJC) of Rusk County, Texas. Tutors helped Kristina complete her GED, allowing her to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. CWJC of Rusk County exists to give women like Kristina a chance to get back on their feet. Participants can receive instruction in basic job skills, GED and literacy tutoring, and English as a second language courses. They also have the opportunity to earn supplemental income by working in the small jewelry and crafts business at the site.
Eden Ministries serves to restore freedom for the captives of Asia’s red-light districts through holistic programs—transforming body, mind, and spirit. Young women rescued from human trafficking and sexual exploitation are provided a new career, skill training, and counseling—empowering young women for a new life and future.
Eden’s jewelry is handcrafted by rescued young women like Yen. Yen was full of anticipation when her older cousin promised a well-paying job at a restaurant in the big city. However, when Yen arrived in the city, she was immediately drugged, locked in a brothel, and forced into sex slavery. At first she cried daily, but she soon learned to force down her tears, as the boss threatened to burn her with hot water if she cried again. After Yen met Eden’s street outreach, she was rescued and is now starting a new life at Eden.
Eden Ministries’ calling is to be a voice to the oppressed, a light to the darkness. Partners like WorldCrafts help enable Eden Ministries to live out this passion and employ more rescued young women.
In the Middle East, people with disabilities are often forced to become "takers," looking for handouts. Glad Tidings provides dignity for its artisans as they earn a living to provide for themselves and their families. When asked about her hope for the future, one artisan shared, "I don't dream about my future. I dream about the future of my kids. I dream that one day they will be able to get a college education!" For the unloved and rejected, Glad Tidings continues to bring hope and love.
Graffiti 2 Works
Graffiti 2 Works coaches adults to develop the physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual skills necessary to achieve their best. Learning to sew and sell products gives these artisans jobs and builds their self-esteem. As the artisans of Graffiti 2 Works sew together, they develop relationships with each other and with our Father.
Hearts and Hands
In Yunnan Province, China, men and women with disabilities develop new skills and earn income through employment as artisans with Hearts & Hands. Those who are Deaf or otherwise physically limited—who previously found little prospect for survival—now realize “plans that will prosper and not harm them, plans for a hope and a future.” Huang Li, who leg was amputated as a child, is one artisan whose life has been changed. When asked what her sewing work means to her, she gave thanks to God, saying, “We can eat.”
Within each stitch of the Himalayan Tapestry artisans’ handiwork is a story of illiteracy, abuse within marriage, and culturally conditioned gender discrimination. While these Indian women suffer quietly, they are expected to carry the financial burden of their families. The women come to Himalayan Tapestry with little education and no basic skills, but here they learn to quilt, tailor, read, and manage money. Working with this organization enables women to make money from their new talents, and it enables them to receive crisis counseling, which brings financial and emotional comfort to their troubled lives.
As markets open up, the women of Igira Impuhwe [i-GI-ru im-HU-we] in Rwanda earn needed income from the sales of their eco-friendly, handwoven grass baskets. Igira Impuhwe lifts women like Mukangenzi Laurance out of desperate poverty. She now rents a home, has health insurance for her family, bought clothes for her children, and rents a garden to grow food. Each woman in the group is also presented with the life-changing offer of eternal hope. Mukangenzi thanks God for changing her life. Igira Impuhwe means “God is compassionate” in Kinyarwanda.
More than a decade ago, a potter in Myanmar created his first nativity set based on one he had seen in a larger town. He hoped to sell the sets to tourists who stumbled upon the traveling market that comes to his lakeside village every five days. Displayed on bamboo tables spread with trinkets to attract souvenir shoppers, his simple clay figures so intrigued one foreigner that she set out to uncover the story behind their production. Surprisingly, she found the family of artisans knew little about the story of the figures they molded. From this first encounter, a relationship grew, as well as a partnership in which she links the artisans to larger markets for their products. Now through Inle Clay, this artisan family is able to provide the health care required by each of its generations living within the same thatched walls, as well as bring economic and spiritual hope to its community.
Kanzi offers handmade, fair-trade items from artisans across East Africa. Not only does Kanzi help develop a market for these artisans, but it also donates a portion of sales to support orphans and children at risk in Uganda, enabling them to get much-needed food, clothing, shelter, education, and spiritual care. These children are otherwise at risk of being forced into sexual exploitation or heavy manual labor in the fields or rock quarries.
In the mountains of North Africa, the Berber artisans of the Leather Project skillfully craft leather scraps from a furniture and upholstery company into smooth bags. This time-honored tradition helps them to earn money that supplements their jobs as subsistence farmers and shepherds. More and more, Berbers are forced to move to the city to look for business jobs, but this artisan group allows them to stay with their families in the mountains and provide for their needs.
Slowly and steadily, the Indonesia women weave their threads through felt circles onto pieces of felt that will eventually house children’s fingers as puppets. Since many of their husbands work jobs that don’t pay well, the women must earn additional income. That used to mean rolling cigarettes for pennies a day, Now, the women have teamed with Lifetouch Artistry to create finger puppets of all nationalities, which helps them afford groceries and schooling for their children.
Light of Hope
The thin, dirty girl sits dejectedly on the curb as pedestrians filter past her. Ten-year-old Farjana is tired and does not feel well, but she knows she must earn more money before she can go home for the day. “When I was very young, my father died,” Farjana says. “My mom was unable to manage our family by providing food and other needs for us. . . . The last 6 years I have been going to [a major intersection] for begging and earning money for my family.”
Farjana does not go to school and cannot read or write. She wants to go to school someday because “without education, there is no significance in life,” she said.
She is just one of Bangladesh’s estimated 700,000 beggars. Girls from low-income families like Farjana face many obstacles and dangers in their life—including potentially being trafficked and exploited, says worker Geri Hennerman. “They are seen as nobodies and only good for cleaning, cooking, sex, and child-bearing,” she says. “They are often beaten verbally and physically. They have little—if any—encouragement, love, correct discipline, or teaching. They do not have good female role models to follow. Many are given for marriage at extremely young ages. They are seen as objects instead of real people.”
But the Light of Hope Learning Center, which Geri started more than 6 years ago, helps prevent impoverished girls from having this dark future. The center is a day shelter that gives girls education, life skills, health care, and moral training. The girls learn they are special and have great potential for living a transformed life. “They spend their days learning and growing in all areas—intellectually, morally, spiritually, physically, emotionally, and socially—instead of spending their days (and nights) out in their very dangerous and open areas, learning the ways of the world and getting into dangerous and trouble-type situations,” Geri says.
Love Calcutta Arts
The scarring influence of the sex trade does not affect just one generation in India. Despairing mothers often leave a legacy of poverty and prostitution to their daughters, who in turn carry on because they know no other lifestyle. Enter Love Calcutta Arts. Their handicrafts unit enables young women to support themselves with dignity and help their mothers leave the sex industry. These hardworking women make high-quality handmade paper products in a loving environment where they learn of their heavenly Father’s love for them.
The cultural and artistic traditions of Central Asia have been preserved through the generations as women work together with their mothers and grandmothers creating masterful crafts. These items are as varied as the women who make them, with products reflecting the unique styles of individual crafters. Master’s Handicrafts and WorldCrafts are honored to offer these fair-trade treasures to you on behalf of the indigenous artisans in the cities of Kyrgyzstan.
A native of Myanmar’s infamous mining town began Mogok Inklings. Like most children, she played in the dirt, but unlike most, among the rocks and pebbles in her yard, the earth yielded fragments of rubies and semiprecious stones. Ironically, Mogok's underground riches, do not afford hopeful livelihoods or opportunities for its inhabitants. Consequently, the town's young population has been drawn away by the empty, better-life promises beckoning from the Thai and Chinese borders. Fueled by faith that has grown since her childhood, the now grown-up little girl acted on the idea of creating homegrown jobs using the smaller gemstones cast aside in the greed of the mining industry. Mogok Inklings now employs young people striving to finish school, and seeks to share hope with the artisans.
More Than Sparrows
More than Sparrows artisans in Kigali, Rwanda, are growing in strength of spirit as well as new-found respect and dignity because they have worked together to leave their old lives behind. Discovering that they can learn new handcrafts which are valued by others has offered the artisans hope and the opportunity to prosper. In 2013, a benefactor shared a reading from Matthew 10:31 with the artisans: "Fear not, therefore, you are of more value than many sparrows." These women were sex workers and street vendors, isolated women who were considered the lowest of the low, but this reading assured them that they had great value. Knowing their own worth brought them comfort and hope. Through their struggles they have discovered a sense of identity. The artisans support each other, look after each other, listen to each other and take pride in what they do. They have become resilient and because of that, they now stand up and say, "We are More than Sparrows."
Mother Care Handcrafts
Mother Care Handcrafts helps more than 100 disadvantaged artisans in Kenya earn a fair wage by using their skills in the centuries-old traditions of carving and basket making. Among the artisans are several women who have been rescued from prostitution, thanks to the jobs Mother Care offers. Sales provide guild artisans a way to feed and clothe their families, as well as affording them an opportunity to hear the offer of eternal life.
Mully Children’s Family
Mully Children’s Family (MCF) created Yatta Vocational Training Centre to restore young women broken by exploitation. Each year, the training center rescues approximately 100 victims out of this cruel bondage. When they arrive at the training center, these women receive counseling and learn vocational skills, computer training, and family care. They are also discipled in developing lives marked by eternal hope.
Young women like Felister Mwikali are taught beadwork, dress making, and design. Felister came to the center after being abused by a man who lured her out of her village with promises of a better life. However, he threw her out of his home when she became pregnant. Upon returning to her family, she was treated with disdain due to her pregnancy, and she was not allowed to attend school.
Because of the help of MCF’s training center, Felister has been able to save money and plans to start her own business.
Through their partnership with WorldCrafts, artisans at the training center earn a fair wage for creating beautiful handcrafted purses and jewelry. The crafter's dignity is being restored as they learn their own great worth.
Although the Maasai women of Tanzania who formed Naapok-Nanyok are no longer nomadic, their lives resolved around livestock. The five-month dry season kills the grass, leaving the goats to die, meaning no milk for Maasai children. Each product sold creates a savings fund for new goats to replace any that die. In a recent year, the women saved $150 from their handmade products and bought 15 goats to nourish their children.
In many large cities around the globe, a high cost of living coupled with the low wages of some professions can present harsh challenges for many urban dwellers. Napapawn and Panadda, two Thai women living in Bangkok, Thailand, saw firsthand the economic strain that many in their immediate community faced on a daily basis. Their local church began reaching out to one particular community and Napapawn and Panadda began meeting with some of the women there. They would spend time together in conversation and study and even began to crochet as a group. One day they tried their hand at sewing a simple handbag, and Napada was born!
Napada now employs a group of women from this low-income community, enabling them to better the lives of their families while also developing friendships and fellowship. Prior to becoming a part of Napada, some of the women had very low-paying jobs or tough schedules, while others had no work opportunities whatsoever. Napada provides a creative outlet for these women while seeing them come to know eternal hope.
Noah’s Ark is an innovative network of 100 fair-trade artisan groups, representing 600 individuals, across India. Artisans work with a variety of materials, including wood, paper, and metal, to create contemporary products using traditional methods. All workshops are committed to providing sustainable income in an environment of honesty and integrity. As Noah’s Ark grows it has been able to support schools for artisan children and provide filters for clean water.
In a small village in southwest Bangladesh, widows frantically search for work in order to take care of their young children. Because the widows are uneducated, they don’t possess marketable skills, and this leaves them with a bleak view of their future. But for the last several years, Peaceful Creations has partnered with the widows to sell their handmade items. By creating these items, more than 50 widows are now able to stay at home with their children while earning an income.
Proverbs 31 Women
Widowed. Destitute. HIV-positive. These words could be used to describe the women of the Proverbs 31 Women artisan group in Uganda. But as they make colorful, attractive beaded jewelry out of recycled paper—you’d never guess—their hearts join together in song and their faces light up with smiles of joy! Sales of their beautiful, handmade items provide badly needed income to meet their families’ most basic needs, such as food and rent. Today, words that best describe these Proverbs 31 women would be hopeful, encouraged, full of thanksgiving, and praise!
Mary grew up in an orphanage in India with a bleak outlook for her future. When time came for her to leave the orphanage, she was deceived by an offer of marriage and found herself instead in a brothel. She escaped and tried to commit suicide multiple times, the last time by eating glass. A member of Rahab’s Rope artisan group found her dying in the street and brought her to the center. Many young women like Mary have found a lifeline at Rahab’s Rope, where they discover new opportunities while making handcrafted items.
Fleeing persecution in their native countries, such as Sudan, Bhutan, Burma, and Egypt, refugees often encounter new and threatening challenges upon arrival in the United States. Children are drawn into crime, parents are treated with disdain and overworked, and even basic tasks seem like impossible puzzles. Refugee Beads exists to provide hope, a sense of community, and needed income for refugees living in the Atlanta area. The jewelry created by these women is marketed across America to benefit their families. Many of the women are the wives of refugee pastors serving their own people groups.
Refugee Sewing Society
Refugee Sewing Society in Clarkston, Georgia, teaches viable skills to vulnerable refugee women. The women receive payment for the products they sell, helping them to earn a supplemental income. They have access to available resources including ESL and citizenship classes, which will allow them to adapt to their new home in America.
Tucked in a working-poor neighborhood in Myanmar's largest city is a fledgling home-based preschool. One family's desire to serve their surrounding Buddhist neighbors compelled them to leave meager but steady employment and rely on the practical help of friends and uncertain funds. Enter S.A.L.T. (Salt and Light Trading), whose hand-stitched products now support the day-to-day operations of the preschool, which teaches children about their Creator and provides otherwise inaccessible early childhood education to eager families.
Rescue is only the first step on the path to restoration for victims of exploitation and trafficking. Even after extensive therapy and time to heal, former victims are extremely vulnerable to being exploited again if they have no ability to earn a viable income and provide for themselves and their families. Without skills and jobs, the likelihood of being in harm’s way again is almost guaranteed.
Sak Saum recognizes this reality and is committed to ensuring that those in their care are equipped with skills and employment and earn fair wages in a safe, loving environment. They also seek to pre-empt exploitation by equipping and hiring the most vulnerable in the local community before they fall prey to traffickers.
Every Sak Saum product is made by someone who now has skills and works with dignity. By purchasing a Sak Saum product, you are ensuring that the work of rescue, restoration, and transformation continues.
Deaf people face incredible obstacles to finding work and sustainable livelihoods in Kenya and other developing nations. As part of the larger DOOR ministry (Deaf Opportunity OutReach), Sasa Designs empowers deaf women. These women struggle daily to overcome their physical limitations and provide for their families. Having been trained in beading, knotting, and wire-working techniques, artisans like Nancy and Peninah are now able to provide their families with plenty of nutritious foods, a consistent roof over their heads and education for their children.
Sauyunan, a Sundanese word, means “working together for the same purpose.” This is the goal of Sauyunan Handicrafts in Indonesia. Multiple families create beautiful beaded items, thereby supporting themselves with their artistry. As artisans fasten each bead, they realize their once-hidden talents. Though they begin as impoverished men and women, small loans, design assistance, and help connecting with the right markets empower the artisans. Individuals and families gain dignity—not handouts. They also receive opportunities to study prepared lessons on life skills and values that influence their present and provide hope for a shining future.
Sema of Sema Leatherworks means “to speak” or “to say” in Swahili. The men artisans, who live in Nairobi, Kenya, work four days of the week on the products. They spend the remainder of the week applying their income to improve life for the people. They provide physical needs and offer encouragement and messages of eternal hope.
The young women of Shelano have come from the slums in the south of Kolkata, India. Finding a job is difficult, if not impossible, with their background and limited education. By purchasing their handmade products, you are not only getting a fairly-traded product, but also giving a woman an opportunity to take care of her family and invest in the future. Each throw is unique and is made by a unique woman with a unique story. As it goes from her hands to yours, you are help a woman earn some money of her own and contribute to her confidence and well-being.
With a mission to restore hope to exploited women in Asia, Starfish Project established a socially responsible jewelry company in 2006 as a means to offering meaningful alternative employment, vocational training and educational grants, and a wide array of social programs to women trapped in exploitative situations. Each woman who leaves an exploitative situation for employment at Starfish Project is given opportunities to heal her physical and emotional scars in ways that transform every aspect of her being, including in her relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. By operating under three main values—the holistic transformation of lives, implementing ethically based business and organizational practices, and raising up local leadership—Starfish Project continues toward a vision of seeing every woman valued. Each piece of jewelry purchased directly funds the empowerment of exploited women in Asia.
Artisans at Tabitha Ministries in Guatemala make exquisite products out of seed beads. The group employs eight artisans who are able to provide much-needed income for their families through their work. Maria is an artisan who can support her school and family with the money earned from products sold through WorldCrafts to purchase things like firewood and corn. She works so hard to provide for herself and family. That's why she is studying business administration, but she won’t be able support her home without this job, and doing bead work is all she can do well to earn money.
Thai Country Trim
For years, Thai Country Trim in Thailand has been a safe haven for battered women to receive emotional and financial support. One woman was constantly abused by her family until she sought help at Thai Country Trim. Her family gave her the most chores around the house and consistently told her she was worthless. Now, this woman, along with about 300 other women, is employed by Thai Country Trim, handcrafting items to earn a living and learn to heal from her past.
The Lily House
The Lily House in the Dominican Republic offers healing to women who have been sexually trafficked and those who are risk of being trafficked. With high levels of poverty, illiteracy, and physical abuse, Dominican women are exceptionally vulnerable to traffickers. The Lily House teaches women to create beautiful jewelry. In the process, these formerly enslaved women learn that they are themselves beautiful creations worthy of love. “I knew how to do nothing with my hands before Lily House,” says N. “The only thing I knew to do was sell my body. Now I make beautiful things with dignity.” Your purchase of jewelry made by The Lily House artisans brings hope to those who were without hope.
The talent and tranquility of The Well artisans belie their astoundingly difficult backgrounds: one was sold into prostitution by her family as a small child; several were teenage bar workers; and another was a single mom with no resources. They have discovered their own innate talents through careful training in Thai arts, and The Well has given them a sense of hope and a positive vision for their futures. Today, these women have dreams of opening their own businesses; becoming doctors, nurses, lawyers, and teachers; and sending their children to school.
Sex trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry. Trafficked women feed a worldwide demand for sex slaves, prostitution, and pornography. Poverty and the fear of uncertain futures leave these women vulnerable to the lure of traffickers. In the midst of this criminal world, The WellHouse fights human trafficking as it extends God’s grace and creates opportunities for restoration to exploited women. Here, trafficked victims enter a safe residential environment where they receive spiritual, mental, emotional and physical support. By purchasing a bracelet or necklace created by a human trafficking survivor, you join the battle against exploitation and share hope, love, and courage.
Treasures from the Heart
In Cambodia, AIDS is a growing crisis. Treasures from the Heart trains AIDS survivors to craft handmade items to they can support their families. This fair-trade organization restores self-worth to artisans who have been rejected by their neighbors and sometimes their own families. The work gives them the hope to live with dignity. By providing counseling, Treasures from the Heart invests personal time into every artisan it serves.
As West Bank artisans shape olive wood, they know each unique item means more than money earned. Carved by their hands, each product is inspired. And for these UEMS artisans, creating their art is not just a matter of shaping a piece of olive wood; it’s a powerful testimony of hope delivered from one generation to another for more than 2,000 years.
Vijaya Deepam Trust
Vijaya Deepam Trust works with young women in their early 20s to mid-30s in India. These women come from impoverished backgrounds, and the money they earn through Vijaya Deepam Trust allows them to feed their children and pay for their education. All profits made through the sale of their products are shared among the women. Some of the women’s spouses are addicted to alcohol, leaving them to be the family’s primary providers.
As a result of globalization and ever-changing markets, Indian artisan groups are challenged to take the skills native to their various castes and trades and utilize them in more diverse and marketable ways. Many must educate and provide proper medical care for their families on only a few dollars a day. Village Artisans helps men and women fulfill their potential through their talents in creating beautiful handmade jewelry, scarves, bags, stationery, carved wood, and natural soap products. As a result, these talented and now empowered families are able to meet basic practical needs and provide hope for the next generation.
Living in fear of their ancestors, the Zulu people of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, continually slaughter cows, goats, and chickens as sacrifices. They even attribute any illness, death, or calamity as a mood of an ancestor’s spirit that requires a sacrifice to appease. But, the people involved in the artisan group Wezandla, meaning “hands” in Zulu, have the opportunity to break free from this slavery. Each item they bead secures a paycheck for their poor families and the hope of freedom from fear.
White Rainbow Project
The White Rainbow Project is transforming lives by sharing love with the widows of India. It provides vocational training, food, and medical care to destitute widows in Vrindavan, India. Vrindavan, known as the City of Widows, is home at least 20,000 widows who have been abandoned by their families. White Rainbow Project is recycling hope for these widows by helping them create beautiful handmade products out of donated saris and old magazines. Recycling takes on a whole new meaning, as this is one of the only options widows have to support themselves. They have been told they have “bad karma” and are blamed for the death of their husband. They are shunned, exploited, and denied any sense of dignity. Earning their own money gives them freedom to choose their own destiny, many for the first time in their life.