Happy New Year!
As I reflect on the past year with the Women’s Peace Collection I am in awe of the amazing work that the businesses and non-profits we work with are doing all over the world. The passion, commitment and perseverance of these individuals who have devoted their lives to helping others is what gives me hope for a better world.
I’d like to personally thank all of you for supporting these important initiatives through socially conscious shopping! I thought it would be nice to start the New Year by highlighting some of the work that these organizations and businesses are doing through their fair trade practices, thus shedding some light on the impact the Women’s Peace Collection was part of in 2014!
Our Kenya mobiles were one of the most popular products this year. They are handcrafted by a group of mothers who use the money they earn to send their children to school since Kenya has no public school system. This community is seeing the impact of the sales of the products they make. We all know that educating children is the clearest path out of poverty!
We carry many products from Guatemala not only because they are colorful and beautiful but because it is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is estimated that 54% of Guatemalans live in poverty! There are an increasing number of fair trade cooperatives all over Guatemala that are doing amazing work to help alleviate poverty, educate children, and provide much needed healthcare. We are slowly seeing an improvement in the quality of life there – fair trade really is impactful!
The company working with the Colombian artisans who make our tagua and agave jewelry is supporting an organization called CerMujer, a service in Cali that embraces and houses girls ages 9-18 who are pregnant as a result of prostitution or sexual violence.
The non-profit that oversees the production of our popular Freedom Collection, made by survivors of human trafficking in Asia, gives 100% of the profits from the jewelry sales back to supporting the women in their transition to a life of freedom!
Our Gaza evening bags from Palestine are made by talented women at the Atfaluna Society for Deaf Women and Children. The sale of the bags have enabled these women to not only break the barrier of silence but support their families!
The company that works with the artisans in Bolivia who make our alpaca hats and gloves donates a percentage of their profits to Solidarity Bridge, an organization that provides high-complexity surgery and other healthcare for those living in poverty. In fact, one of the artisans recently had a tumor in her uterus that was successfully treated with 100% recovery! The artisan was also proud that she was able to contribute to the cost of the surgery from her income through the fair trade cooperative.
The group that works with the producers of our jewelry from India not only help the artisans find their way out of poverty through fair wages, but they donate a percentage of sales to the Girl’s Education Fund, which provides educational scholarships to girls in the most marginalized families they serve. In India, 64% of young adolescent girls drop out of school to help take care of siblings, run the household or for arranged marriages. Through an increase in sales from the products they handcraft, the organization was able to send three times as many girls to school last year!
And this is just a sampling of many more projects that are going on around the world, benefitting the artisans and their families who make our gorgeous products! All I can say is this: WOW – fair trade rocks!