My story with Trades of Hope began in 2014 when my dad took his first trip to Haiti. It was his first medical missions trip and I was so excited for him to use his abilities for the sake of other people. What I didn’t expect was the change I would see in him when he came home. Haiti is the poorest country in the world. The earthquake that hit the country in 2010 devastated an already impoverished community.
He saw kids who were dying from illnesses that only required a couple of doses of meds to cure them. He saw parents who couldn’t afford to keep their kids and were considering giving them up for adoption. He saw need. Everywhere.
He has gone back 3 times and is working on helping create sustainable medical practices for Haitian physicians to be able to help their people.
I couldn’t get over the fact that mothers and fathers give up their kids because they can’t afford them.
This isn’t just a problem in Haiti, but all over the world. Many children given up for adoption still have a parent living.
A question began to haunt me: Wouldn’t it be better to help kids stay with their parents than to adopt them?
But I didn’t know how to help.
Around the same time, a friend of mine began selling jewelry and scarves and other accessories through Trades of Hope. To help her out, I hosted a Facebook party and invited some friends. I knew Trades of Hope offered fair trade goods. I did not know it is all about the women who make them.
Last winter another friend who is a Compassionate Entrepreneur through Trades of Hope shared on Facebook that each time a woman signs on to be a CE, another woman in another country can be hired as an artisan.
Another woman can keep her children.
But I still didn’t think it was for me.
Last month, Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti.
My dad sent out a message to our family asking us to pray for the community.
Over 1,000 people were killed by that storm. Houses, farms, communities are destroyed. The people are still reeling.
How can I help?
It feels overly simple and small, but it became clear to me in the following weeks that I can help at least one woman in Haiti by advocating for her and selling her goods so that she can not only survive, but thrive.
I am still learning about the good Trades of Hope does in the communities where they provide jobs for women, but so far I have learned that helping one woman doesn’t just help her, it helps her family, her extended family, her neighborhood, her community as businesses are formed and people have sustainable income.
Against all odds.
So on October 19th I signed up to be a Compassionate Entrepreneur for the women in Haiti. The women in India. The women in Uganda, the Philippines, and all over the world who don’t have safe options. Who are losing their families, their lives because of poverty.
That’s why I joined Trades of Hope.
You will be seeing more of the products on social media, because I am so excited about them, but it would be great if you could join me for one of my launch parties. The first will be on Facebook on November 10th and the second will be in my home on November 12th. All are invited!! If you can’t attend these, don’t worry, there are always opportunities to host a party (and earn rewards) or shop online!
What’s better than Christmas shopping with friends and helping other women while you do it?
Here are some of my favorite products so far:
Restoration Bracelet (I’m a bracelet girl more than an earring/necklace girl and there are so many beautiful bracelets it was hard to pick just one!)
About the Artisans: As highlighted above, Haiti has been hit hard by natural disasters over the past 10 years. Trades of Hope has worked to help Haitians by teaching them how to make “cereal box beads!” That’s right, half of the beads in this bracelet are rolled cereal boxes, but you would never guess that, they are so solid!
About the Artisans: More than half of the people of Uganda live in poverty. The average income is $24/month. Women’s lives are being transformed by sustainable businesses with the help of groups like Trades of Hope! The beads in this necklace are hand-rolled paper beads (I cannot believe they are made of paper! They are so beautiful). Many of the women in the program making necklaces like the Imani necklace have AIDS, but are able to rise about their circumstances through their businesses creating and selling jewelry!
About the Artisans: “This group of Artisans was formed because many young, unmarried women in remote areas of India were not allowed to leave their impoverished villages for work because of the conservative mindset. If they left, they often ended up in sweatshops or in the sex trade. Now through Fairtrade these women are empowered to be self-reliant, something unheard of in their villages. By making this scarf, they are stepping away from the thinking that women have no value and cannot take care of themselves. Now they are respected in their villages.” (from the Trades of Hope website)