Haiti, 2007: Our yelling, heavy-on-the-horn driver was unfazed by 3-foot-deep potholes, roadside trash fires, or even the lanky black cow. I choked on hot diesel fumes. Bells tinkled. A sad trumpet bellowed in the distance. Children swarmed the vehicle- shouting, arms outstretched. One young girl, maybe 12, was naked. The desperation & chaos were overwhelming- I inhaled deeply, double-blinked. Nope, not a dream. As if I could make this up. I don’t recall unzipping my purse, but my arm was suddenly out the window- pressing green bills in to brown hands, “helping.” I shudder now to think of the fights that probably erupted in our wake. My “help” caused hurt. :(
Texas, 2012: Drivers honk and holler merrily at one another. There are several cows in the road. The air is thick with the scent of warm cherry pie. Two Haitian boys, now our sons, are on the couch- warm, fed, secure, engrossed in a riveting Mario Kart race against Pop. I laugh at their threats to leave Dad in the dust, pet a furry kitty, take a sip of hot almond tea. I flash back to Haiti, even more desperate now than she was then, and sigh. Those women love their babies and dream of a better life for them. They are just like me, but lack opportunity. The heavy desire to do something rises again in my chest. But what can I do? Abandon my family and fly down there? How can I help without hurting them?
I was overjoyed to learn about Trades of Hope, an organization that was created to give women in poverty (in Haiti and across the world) an opportunity for a better life. Trades of Hope is giving a voice to hurting women around the globe by marketing their hand-made products (home decor, jewelry, scarves, journals, etc.) through the home party model so that they can provide their children with food, shelter, medical care and an education. We work directly with female artisans and with organizations that are helping women in extremely difficult circumstances. Artisans include the mentally disabled and physically handicapped, women who’ve been abused and abandoned, former sex slaves and sweatshop employees, AIDS victims, civil war widows, and women who’ve been disfigured by leprosy. (Can you even imagine?!)
|Women in Nepal creating leaf journals for Trades of Hope.|
I believe that Americans have generous, open hearts and want to help but that it is our cultural tendency to think BIG- that helping means forgoing electricity & cars and ignoring our homes and children to work in a soup kitchen, or selling everything we have and dragging our families overseas to start an orphanage. Yes, the needs are crazy-extensive, but honey- don’t look at the whole dang ocean! Just choose a drop. You can do that today, right where you are- with Trades of Hope. It’s easy to make a difference.
Become a Compassion Entrepreneur and help women in Uganda, Bangladesh, Kathmandu… while simultaneously supporting your own family. There are no sales quotas. Set your own hours, and work only as much as you like. Or, host a party in your home. (or online- no need to clean the house!) You’ll be changing lives while earning free and discounted products. Or simply visit the TOH web site and get your daughter some earrings that will help keep someone else’s daughter out of the sex trade. See? I told you it was easy!
|If you’re interested in becoming a Compassion Entrepreneur we’re running a special this month to help you get started for just $99. Email me with any questions you have! firstname.lastname@example.org|
Don’t let the word “hand-made” scare you. These are lovely, quality works of art.
|Silver Indian princess filigree bracelet, also available in gold.|
|One of my personal favorites.
In the evening women in Nepal gather silk threads from the floor of a
silk factory, take them home, and weave them in to amazing scarves. Colors vary, each is unique! Besides being lovely and handmade
they keep women out of sweatshops and the sex trade.
|These necklaces are made by
young ladies in remote areas of India. These unmarried women are
commonly not allowed to leave their impoverished villages because of
their society’s conservative mindset. If
they do leave their small villages they often end up in the sex trade
or in harsh sweatshops. Fair trade wages enable these artisans to be
self-reliant, something that is unheard of in their villages! Being so
empowered restores a sense of value to these women as they fight against
gender bias. They are able to take care of themselves and are earning
respect in their villages.
|Leaf Journals, set of two, educating young women out of poverty in Nepal. 5″ x 6″|
And now for the giveaway! Two of our most popular items are up for grabs. First, we have the beloved Haiti necklace. The beads are handrolled- made of recycled cereal boxes! They are gorgeous, have a great weight to them, and go with everything. No two are exactly alike.
|Haiti necklace close-up|
Next up, the love bowl from India…
There are four ways to enter the giveaway. Combine them to increase your odds! (Leave separate comment for each thing you do)
1) Leave a comment below.
3) Place an order (between February 8th-14th) through my Trades of Hope affiliate link. You’ll receive an additional entry for every $10 you spend on gorgeous, handcrafted, fair trade products. (tax & shipping excluded)
4) Facebook or Tweet about this giveaway including a link back to this post so we can help spread the word about Trades of Hope.
Giveaway will be open until February 14, 2012 and will be chosen via Random.org.
*Update* Ladies, thank you for opening your hearts to hurting women around the world! A lot of you have asked about ordering, and yes, you can order by going to Tradesofhope.com, choosing “online store” and then, “Cara Green.” Or- just click here:http://stores.homestead.com/TradesofHopeLLC/StoreFront.bok?affiliate_no=56