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Our Artisan Partners

At Global Girlfriend we are proud to sell products made by exceptional women artisans from over 20 countries. Telling the stories of our tenacious partners makes our handmade gifts even more meaningful, because buying products made by women in impoverished countries is one of the best methods to reduce poverty and to create prosperity for women, families, and communities.


The Leakey Collection { Kenya }

The Leakey Collection Based in The Rift Valley of Kenya, in East Africa, The Leakey Collection was founded by Katy and Philip Leakey, who live among the Maasai in the Kenyan bush. Katy and Philip wanted to help their neighbors and to provide work opportunities without changing the Maasai culture. They came up with an imaginative idea utilizing the excellent beading abilities of the Maasai women, using native grass, an available sustainable resource, as the primary element. Soon the women were harvesting grass, one blade at a time. The long grass is dried and cut into bead-size pieces and dyed multiple lovely color hues which were then strung into necklaces and bracelets. Today over 1400 hundred Maasai women make Zulugrass while continuing to lead their lives in their traditional lifestyle, and they can use their income to better their lives as they wish. Zulugrass provides much needed and desired opportunity for these wonderful women and their families.

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Hillcrest AIDS Center Trust { South Africa }

Hillcrest AIDS Center Trust Incorporating a holistic approach to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust was established in 1991 in the Valley of a Thousand Hills outside Durban, South Africa. Since its inception, they have grown to fund HIV/AIDS counselors, education counselors, a 24-bed respite unit, antiretroviral therapy and monitoring, a feeding program, and food gardens project. Hillcrest also runs an income generation program for women. It allows those in need to use their creativity and earn an income while at the same time regain hope and dignity. One artisan, Joyce age 55, has been beading and making Little Traveller pins for five years. Each little doll takes her less than an hour to make, but it is time well- spent, as each doll is a joy to create. It also means more money in the bank at the end of the month, in a region where money is hard to come by. Beading has changed her life, making her the primary income earner in her home. The Little Travellers have had a huge impact on her family: her husband, two sons, two grandsons, two granddaughters, and her cousin. They are less stressed knowing there will be money at the end of the week to buy food, and it affords Joyce the opportunity to follow her other calling as a traditional healer among the community.

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Craft-Link Kenya { Kenya }

Hillcrest AIDS Center Trust In Ukambani, a semiarid region in the Eastern Province of Kenya, women predominantly earn their living by weaving baskets using sisal as a raw material. Sisal is a natural fiber that grows wildly in the region. The rapid-growing leaves are plucked and crushed to produce the sisal fiber, which is then twined using traditional skills. Baskets and other sisal accessories are then handmade by the women using the open weaving method. Craft-Link Kenya is working with over 900 women across the Ukambani region to market their bags globally. They also provide support in the form of training and materials.

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Divine Chocolate { Ghana }

Hillcrest AIDS Center Trust Comfort Kumeah, a mother of five and a grandmother, lives in the small town of Mim in the Ashanti region of Ghana and owns Divine Chocolate. She is a member of Kuapa Kokoo cocoa growers' cooperative and was recently elected the national secretary for the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers' Union and the chair of the Farmers Trust which both provides cocoa for Divine Chocolate. "Before fair trade, we growers were cheated. People adjusted the scales. We got little money from the purchasing clerks and no bonuses. The growers' welfare was neglected. I joined Kuapa Kokoo because I saw it was the only cooperative which could solve some of our problems--they trade without cheating, with the welfare of the growers at heart. There are many problems with poverty. During the lean season there is no money. Here growers make their own decisions...and we are proud of our chocolate company Divine which gives us power and a Dividend." Divine is the only fair trade chocolate company which is 45% owned by the farmers. Fair trade ensures farmers receive a better deal for their cocoa and additional income to invest in their community, while company ownership gives farmers a share of Divine's profits and a stronger voice in the cocoa industry. That's good business!

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Acacia Creations { Kenya }

Hillcrest AIDS Center Trust Acacia Creations is located in Nairobi, Kenya where they've been making fun, ethical, recycled paper jewelry since October 2007. The organization follows strict fair trade practices - each of their jewelry artisans is paid a monthly salary in addition to receiving a percentage of each sale. At the end of every month the artisans of Acacia Creations receive their regular monthly salary. (It's standard practice in Kenya to pay an entire month's salary in one single payment at the end of the month). Throughout the course of a month, each artisan is also paid a certain amount for every single piece of jewelry they make. In other words, they receive a percentage of the sale of that item before it's even sold. Depending on the item, they earn between 5 and 15% of the item's wholesale price. This ensures that workers are paid throughout the month. In all, artisans earn a wage 5 times higher than the national average in Kenya. Acacia Creations also covers most medical costs for their employees and their families and provides lunch daily at their Nairobi studio.

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Gahaya Links { Rwanda }

Hillcrest AIDS Center Trust Gahaya Links was founded to train rural women after the devastating 1994 Rwanda Genocide that left over 1 million people dead. In the 1990s, sisters Joy Ndunguste and Janet Nkubana offered the women a small shop to sell their baskets and earn an income to meet their basic necessities. The sisters later offered to meet the women in their villages and learn how they could use an old Rwanda traditional skill to better their lifestyles. From a humble beginning under a tree in a remote village called Gitarama, the sisters organized about twenty women and taught them how to weave, how to enhance their weaving skills with new design techniques, and how to work together by looking beyond their ethnic differences. Today Gahaya Links is a growing network of over 4,000 weavers across the country organized in 52 savings cooperatives.

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Wawoto Kachel { Uganda }

Hillcrest AIDS Center Trust The name, "Wawoto Kacel", means "Walking together" in the local Ugandan language. The women of Wawoto Kacel Cooperative Society walk together on their journey to a better life. The organization was founded in 1997 in Gulu, Uganda by a group of HIV positive women with the help of the Ugandan NGO Comboni Samaritans of Gulu. The Cooperative has grown to 150 working members and has 6 working sections: embroidery, tailoring, tie and dye, weaving, beads and wishing cards. The art and crafts works produced are sold both on the local and international markets.

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Tintsaba { Swaziland }

Hillcrest AIDS Center Trust Tintsaba was created in 1985 by Sheila Freemantle with the purpose of improving the lives of rural women in Swaziland. With an academic background in development, Sheila believed that creating an income generating opportunity for the women will help them become happier, healthier individuals - women who could take charge of their lives.The small business that started with 12 women has to date worked with and trained more than 890 women. Their products are known for their beauty as well as the story of the women behind each product. Tintsaba is committed to excellence in every aspect. In the creation of the highest quality hand woven sisal products - in the service, in the teamwork, in the commitment to the earth and the holistic wellbeing of rural women in Swaziland.

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One Mango Tree { Uganda }

Hillcrest AIDS Center Trust While Uganda once had a thriving apparel manufacturing industry, over the past several years most of the factories have closed, leaving hundres of skilled seamstresses without work. One Mango Tree, which began in northern Uganda working in former conflict areas in and around Gulu, has expanded to the capital city of Kampala, empoying a small group of talented seamstresses living in the city's slums. The women in the Kampala apparel group are working to build an organic cotton apparel business based on fair trade principles that can sustain them long term. The women in Gulu create beautiful bags and accessories from traditional African wax print patterns and hand loomed fabrics. Many of the Gulu group not only care for their own families, but also for children orphaned during the war.

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Global Mamas { Ghana }

Hillcrest AIDS Center Trust Global Mamas is an organization in Ghana which has worked for over a decade helping women of Africa in attaining economic independence. Sales of Global Mamas products provide dignity to African women who are now able to earn an honest living through the production of handmade batik and beaded products. By helping women to help themselves, Global Mamas is taking small steps towards helping end Africa's dependence on foreign aid and creating a sustainable society.

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31 Bits { Uganda }

Hillcrest AIDS Center Trust Kallie Dovel traveled to Uganda in the summer of 2007, getting a first- hand look at life in Northern Uganda. While she was there, she met women making paper beads who lacked a plan to market and sell them. After spending time in their homes and hearing their stories, Kallie knew there had to be a way to give opportunities to her new friends. She brought a box of jewelry back to the U.S., and spent the next year finishing her degree and dreaming up the concept of a development organization. She brought a few friends on board and her ideas quickly evolved into 31 Bits. They traveled back to Uganda in August 2008, and selected six women to begin buying jewelry from on a monthly basis. Since then, 31 Bits has grown to 99 women; each with a unique story of suffering that has been overcome with joy and liberation.

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Lulu Life { Sudan }

Hillcrest AIDS Center Trust In 2005 Lulu Life established training projects that teach women better techniques of shea butter processing and helped set up shea nut processing and nut collection centers. Lulu Life integrated groups of women working in isolation of each other, using the capacity of the group to give each woman access to otherwise unreachable markets. Today Lulu Life has 40 women-owned and -operated shea butter processing centers. As a non-profit trust, Lulu Life sees that fair trade income reaches a total of 400 women in Southern Sudan, helping them maintain a healthy household with money for food, clothing, education and medical care. Sustainable living, coupled with a wide variety of productive investments, is contributing greatly to the development of the local economy.

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Jorova Crafts { Kenya }

Hillcrest AIDS Center Trust Jorova crafts was founded by three women living in the slums of Nairobi, Josephine, Rosemary and Eva hence the name JOROVA. Determined to make a better life for their families, the women cleaned houses to save enough for one shared sewing machine and a small market stall. Jorova has grown to employ several women in the Nairobi slums and has become a primary support for the women and their families. Today Jorova provides employment for several single mothers and widows. Jorova Crafts is made up of groups both in the slums of Nairobi and the peri-urban rural areas surrounding the city.

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Shona Congo { Congo }

Hillcrest AIDS Center Trust Life is difficult in Eastern Congo - especially for the disabled. Our fair-trade partner, Shona Congo, employs disabled women and offers them hope for a new life. Most of Shona's seamstresses were victims of childhood polio and lost the use of one or both of their legs, growing up without the ability to walk or stand upright. As teenagers, many underwent surgery and years of physical therapy at the Handicapped Center in nearby Goma to regain the ability to stand. Even so, almost all are forced to wear heavy metal leg braces in order to stand and walk only with the aid of crutches or canes. Though they face nearly overwhelming physical and financial obstacles, each has decided to stake her claim to a better life by working with Shona. As one seamstress puts it: "Each item we sew is our claim to a better world. A world where we are seen not only for the challenges we face but for the beauty we create." Shona is organized and run by the women themselves. The women believe Shona is about finding better ways of life, through prayer, teamwork, education, and reaching out to others. And, of course, through sewing too.

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Living Life { South Africa }

Hillcrest AIDS Center Trust Global Girlfriend is proud to partner with the wonderful women of Living Life of South Africa. The 21 women from the Basotho Tribe who work at Living Life come from surrounding villages to make a livable wage by handcrafting unique designs. The organization works to combat both AIDS and poverty - two conditions many of the women have experienced first-hand - through education, job training, support services and a sustainable income. Living Life also has provided funds for these women to purchase land for housing. Living Life's studio and workshop also functions as a small restaurant where the women serve fresh food from their garden.

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Gertrude Protus Kita { Tanzania, United Republic of }

Hillcrest AIDS Center Trust From the village of Usa River in north-central Tanzania, Gertrude Protas Kitia uses the ancient art of Masai beadwork in both traditional and contemporary designs and techniques. Gertrude has created these handicrafts as long as she can remember, and teaches them to local women of her rapidly growing village, which is in great need of economic development. With a strong determination to help struggling women survive and a passion for Masai arts, Gertrude eventually formed a women's cooperative with the aim of helping women in her community who needed employment. Gertrude's cooperative not only provides a better living for women through sales of their designs, it has also successfully preserved traditional beading techniques and patterns of the Masai people.

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All Pure Nature { Ghana }

Hillcrest AIDS Center Trust All Pure Nature of Ghana encourages the use of natural products among its customers, to provide continuous income for Shea butter farmers in northern Ghana. Women associations produce our Shea Butter using traditional processing methods thus, maintaining all of Shea Butters' natural active ingredients. Their practices include a creative achievement of combining Shea Butter-making techniques and natural herbs from Africa and using traditional African packaging methods with modern techniques.

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Craftbeauty { Viet Nam }

Craftbeauty is an all-women artisan organization aimed at helping rural women earn a regular monthly salary to support themselves and their families. Working with a variety of fabrics in their native Vietnam, the artisans of Craftbeauty have managed to create opportunity where before prospects looked dim. Originally rice farmers living in a small cultivated area subject to the whims of weather; their farmland began vanishing to a new threat - development of apartment housing. They have a workshop where women can come together to work, but also have opportunities for women to craft from home. Now the primary source of income in their village, these women earn more than three times what they made farming rice, allowing them to provide a better future for themselves and their families.

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Freeset { India }

Freeset is located in Sonagacchi, the largest, most infamous sex district in Kolkata, India. Within a few square miles, more than 10,000 women stand in line selling their bodies to thousands of men who visit daily. Many are trafficked from Bangladesh, Nepal and rural India. For others, poverty has left them without options. The cries of their hungry children drive them to sell their bodies. In India, prostitution is big business and thrives on exploitation and slavery, robbing the poor of dignity and innocence. Freeset is working to set women free from the sex trade through their fair trade business offering employment, safety, and dignity. Their goal is to see the 10,000 sex workers in their neighborhood empowered with the choice of leaving the profession they never chose in the first place.

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Sacred Mark { Bangladesh }

Sacred Mark is an independent enterprise established by Mennonite Central Committee Bangladesh to provide alternative employment for women formerly trafficked into the sex trade. The stories of these women are punctuated with abuse, victimization, trauma, and pain - Sacred Mark has helped them escape this life and find hope for the future. Twenty-six women have been trained and are working full time at a job that offers them respect, pride, and legitimacy within society. The women receive job training, counseling, and sustainable employment. Each woman is a true survivor, rising above the suffering of their past lives and entering their new lives with inspiring courage and tenacity. (Because the women are trafficking and prostitution survivors we do not share their faces to secure their identities.)

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Conserve India { India }

Anita and Shalabh Ahuja founded Conserve, an NGO that helps reduce trash in Dehli while helping extremely poor women find opportunity. With their life savings, the couple launched an amazing concept that started as a 'green' project but quickly developed into much more. Conserve India creates purses and other products from recycled plastic bags gathered from trash heaps and is a source of hope for low-caste women who are desperate and homeless, giving them the opportunity to grow through education and employment opportunity. Conserve now employs and empowers over 300 low-caste women who were without employment opportunities before the non-profit group was established. Conserve has developed an impressive system of production for their products. Women gather shopping bags from the dumps of New Delhi and bring them back to the shop where the plastic is thoroughly cleaned, dried, and then fused together by a process developed by Shalabh. The fusion process creates a durable fabric that is sewn into an array of accessories ranging from bags to day planners. The women of Conserve have refused to leave their lives to fate. In India's extreme poverty, many are forced to sift through the rubble to find shelter or food to survive. Conserve has created hope among that urban waste; because of Conserve, many of these women now have a greater potential for a better living.

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Destiny Reflection { India }

Destiny Foundation, based in Kolkata, India, was founded with the mission to end slavery and sex trafficking through the economic empowerment of women. Aditi, one of the women impacted, is 19 and was born and raised in the Kolkata red light district, where she still lives. As a child, she was enrolled in school but was unable to continue her studies. Life in the red light district is one of fear and pressure--pressure to "join the line" and take over for your mother in prostitution. Luckily, Aditi's mother--who was recently diagnosed with HIV and tuberculosis--is very supportive of Aditi joining the Destiny Foundation, where she receives a stipend as a trainee. Every day, Aditi travels from the red light district to the office and back. The pressure from the red light area has increased, but Aditi is determined to stay off that path. She says, "I have seen that young girls have no other choice but to accept to work in the brothel, every day I have to safeguard myself. I wish to resume studying again and also learn to make beautiful products we are making at Destiny. I want to be independent."

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Mata Traders { India }

Mata Traders is a fair trade women's cooperative that is democratically structured, providing benefits to women such as childcare, annual medical check-ups, overtime pay--even retirement plans. Every link in the production chain is completely managed by the women, and many use their involvement in the co-op as a springboard to becoming socially and politically active in their larger community. Mata Traders specializes in fashion with an impact. Mata dresses and skirts are handmade using artistic traditions such as block-printing and embroidery.

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KABW { Nepal }

Nepali women have been weaving beads traditionally for centuries. KABW utilizes this traditional skill as an income generating source for women in need in rural Nepal. The group of about 18 women work from a home workshop among small crop fields beneath a view of the Himalayas. KABW creates beautiful and timeless pieces that provide women with a sustainable income. Bimala Rai has worked for KABW for 18 years. "Before I joined KABW I was totally unskilled and I never had my own income," says Bimala. "KABW provided me a platform to learn the skills and to become an income earner so I could support my family."

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Afghan Women's Arts Association { Afghanistan }

In Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan, the Afghan Women's Arts Association provides income, employment, and training to more than 30 women. Hand-crafting beautiful jewelry from local gemstones, these jewelry artisans can rely on steady wages in order to provide for their families. They receive vocational training and have the opportunity to take courses in health, literacy and women's rights.

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Assisi Garments { India }

Assisi Garments is a women's non-profit in India run by an order of Franciscan nuns who employ and care for 120 disadvantaged and handicapped women. Assisi's garments are made from 100% organic cotton, which is farmed locally by a group of 300 organic cotton farmers in Maharashtar India. Each garment is lovingly produced from seed to sewing machine.

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Tara Projects { India }

Tara Projects is a fair trade organization based in New Delhi, India. The project seeks to help craftspeople gain awareness, rights and human dignity in order to combat poverty. Tara provides women and men with economic security through regular work at living wages, craft training and marketing services. Founded in the early seventies with the goal of providing avenues of economic growth to economically disadvantaged artisans in Delhi, Tara has become a pillar of the fair trade community in India. Since its inception, Tara Projects has been committed to fighting exploitation, poverty, and illiteracy of artisans who are subjected to the social injustices of unfair trade practices. Besides training artisans in design, production and marketing of handicrafts, Tara also funds and maintains several adult literacy and vocational training centers, and has spearheaded numerous campaigns for ecological, environmental and female educational issues, and against child and bonded labor, illiteracy, and unfair trade practices.

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Association of Craft Producers { Nepal }

The Association for Craft Producers (ACP) is a local, not for profit, fair trade organization providing design, marketing, management, and technical services to low-income Nepali craft producers. ACP is a resource to advance and globally distribute women's work in felting, block printing, weaving, and sewing. Association artisans receive fair wages and generous benefits. ACP blends traditional craft with modern design to give women the best chance at reaching a wider market and therefore being able to provide for themselves and their families.

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Marketplace India { India }

MarketPlace: Handwork of India is an innovative fair trade, not-for-profit organization which combines the experience of running a business with a variety of support programs designed to effect real, meaningful, and lasting change in the lives of low-income women in India. The organization works with 480 artisans who are organized into 14 independent co-operatives which produce high-quality women's apparel and accessories. Being in charge of their own businesses, the women learn valuable skills and are able to earn a living and support their families. In addition, programs offer educational and enrichment opportunities designed to help the artisans overcome personal, cultural and financial obstacles. Empowered with independence and self-confidence, these women become agents of change.

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Kumbeshwar Technical School { Nepal }

Kumbeshwar Technical School (KTS) is a non-profit educational and vocational training institute in Nepal. KTS provides training in knitting and carpet weaving, enabling women in need to make a living wage and care for themselves and their families. KTS also runs a free primary school for disadvantaged children and a youth hostel that provides full time care for up to 20 orphans.

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Godavari Delta Women's Lace Cooperative { India }

Godavari Delta Women's Lace Cooperative of India provides a market vehicle for the lace making skills that the women of the Godavari River Basin have been perfecting for over 100 years. The cooperative provides work for over 650 women living in villages throughout the Godavari Delta. Having a sustainable income helps the women combat the poverty, caste system discrimination, and the economic impact of natural disasters that are all too common in the Godavari River Basin area. Additionally the cooperative helps to provide free medical care for the women and their children.

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Blue Mango Trust { India }

Blue Mango Trust in southern India is run on the ten fair trade principles set out by the World Fair Trade Organization. Blue Mango's objective is to run a sustainable business by and for marginalized women who are disabled, deserted, widowed or living with AIDS. They offer a supportive infrastructure which enables women to gain financial stability and self-reliance. Because of their jobs at Blue Mango, women who are stigmatized find greater respect and support from their larger communities. All of Blue Mango's profits are reinvested in the program, improving the business and more importantly enhancing the quality of life for the women.

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Community Friendly Movement { India }

Community Friendly Movement's mission is to create prosperity for artisan communities in New Delhi, India and surrounding villages through fair wages, a safe work environment, and the preservation of valuable traditional skills. By supporting local crafters, CFM helps artisans avoid migration for work, so they can remain in their villages to sustain the future of their families.

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Bhaktapur Paper Craft { Nepal }

Bhaktapur Craft Paper was established in 1981 as a Community Developmet Project of UNICEF for the improvement of quality of life of low-income urban and rural families. Handmade lokta paper is a long held traditional craft of Nepal, and Bhaktapur Craft Paper's mission is to reduce poverty by employing women in the rural and urban areas through expansion of paper making. All of the paper artisans are also shareholders in the company and receive not only fair wages but company profit sharing. BCP additionally aims to protect Nepal's fragile ecology by using sustainable harvesting of the lokta bush, the raw material used to make their handmade paper. In total close to 400 people are touched by BCP as artisans, sourcing raw materials, or as family members who are afforded education, clean drinking water, and health care through BCP.

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Sana Hastakala { Nepal }

Sana Hastakala in Nepalese translates as "small producer." This premier fair trade organization in Nepal provides women a good living wage, skills training, health care and added emergency financial support when needed. The organization works with several small women's cooperatives in order to create a market for their products. They also have an in-house production unit above their shop in Kathmandu where about 19 women do sewing, finishing, and packing of handicrafts from around the country.

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Peace Handicrafts { Cambodia }

In Cambodia, a group of disadvantaged women, as well as a small group of both men and women victims of landmine injuries and polio, produce innovative recycled products from materials including recycled rice bags, magazines, and mosquito netting. This employment has helped create self-supporting, confident artisans who see themselves as individuals with abilities that contribute to their families and to the development of Cambodia.

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Motif { Bangladesh }

For women who have been marginalized by society, Motif is a safe place they can call home while earning a living to provide for their families. Most of the women employed have experienced some form of discrimination or other scarring incident that has given them a social stigma, making it hard to find decent employment. Some of the women are former prostitutes, others have been affected by leprosy or other diseases, others still have been divorced or abandoned. At Motif the women find a safe place where they can earn a living, as well as share with the other women in a family-type atmosphere.

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Arum Dalu { Indonesia }

Arumdalu is a fair trade organization based in Bali that has been supporting low-income artisans in Indonesia for over 25 years. Their goal is to help women develop a market for their beautiful handicrafts, in order to help them create sustainable incomes and keep traditional crafts and skills alive. Arumdalu also provides training and education, raises awareness of environmental issues and advocates for fair trade practices throughout the region.

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Prokritee { Bangladesh }

Prokritee ("nature" in Bangla) is an organization dedicated to empowering disadvantaged women with little or no economic opportunity. Most of the women employed by Prokritee are the heads of their households due to being widowed, divorced, or separated, with little in the way of income or other assets. Prokritee provides artisan organizations with management, product design and development, and marketing assistance. By providing jobs and skills, they're able to improve their artisans' standard of living and help them send their children to school. The women are paid a fair wage, offered training in quality awareness, health, financial planning, and gender equality, and are provided with a medical allowance, maternity leave, bonuses and loan opportunities.

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Pushpanjali { India }

Pushpanjali is a Fair Trade Organization based in Agra, India Since its establishment in 1982, They have provided marketing & financial support to small and marginalized producers to improve their living and working conditions. They support educational and medical programs in rural villages allowing girls to attend school that otherwise could not afford to.

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Ethereal Crafts { India }

Etherial Crafts is based in New Delhi, Inida but many of the indigenous women artisas are from remote villagest in the North. Most of the women work from their homes or at local workshops and are skilled in following a blend of traditional techniques while trying to add a modern touch to their exquisitely designed scarves. Ethereal Crafts is committed to ethical practices and creating a sustainable platform for women in need.

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Toucan Krafte { India }

Toucan Krafte is an artisan group of economically disadvantaged women from villages just outside of New Delhi, India. Besides providing the women with much-needed steady income, Toucan also provides schooling for their children, health care, and ongoing education and support. Many women are the sole income provider for their family, while others use the fair wage they receive to ensure their children can attend school and have the required books and supplies. Toucan focuses on educating women in order to break the cycle of poverty and dependence, and channels their profits into a trust that provides scholarships for girls' higher education.

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Teddy Exports { India }

Founded in 1990 with 5 people in a hut, Teddy Exports has become a prime example of how a fair trade organization can truly benefit an entire community. It has grown to employ over 500 artisans (mostly women) in Tirumangalam, India. All employees receive a salary well above the local norm, and benefits including medical care, paid maternity leave, education for their children, subsidized meals, and a pension plan. Teddy's campus includes sewing workshops, a wood carving area, a cafeteria, child care center, and farm.Members of the World Fair Trade Organization, Teddy's profits benefit the Teddy Trust which provides health care clinics and education projects within their local community.

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Sathwara Family { India }

Wanting to help at risk women in their community while pursuing their heritage working with traditional textiles, the Sathwara Family began making bags and accessories from recycled sari pieces in the late 1990s. Located in the northern New Delhi area, this family-run artisan group provides training and employment for women who would otherwise have trouble being hired. The women earn a fair wage, and work in a safe, caring environment. The gorgeous bags and accessories that they make are handcrafted from recycled and discarded saris the traditional dress of many women in India. They diligently tailor and transform these repurposed textiles into high-quality accessories, embellished with an arrangement of gorgeous sari pieces.

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Au Lac { Viet Nam }

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Wakami { Guatemala }

Wakami is a fair trade enterprise that collaborates with five rural artisan groups throughout Guatemala. Most of the women artisans live in very small villages where there are no jobs. Before Wakami they were forced to leave their children behind to take work in larger cities. For them, the income generated by Wakami is a dream come true, an opportunity to keep their families together and to send their children to school for the first time. A strong focus on community development, social entrepreneurship, and fair wages has vastly improved the lives of its eighty women artisans and their families.

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El Renacer { El Salvador }

El Renacer Chalateco (the re-birth of Chalatenango) is a cooperative of women artisans from the surrounding areas of Chalatenango, El Salvador. Their communities were totally destroyed during the civil war that took place from 1978 to 1992 and the women and their families have had to rebuild. The cooperative is located right in the heart of Chalatenango and their main goal is to continue to provide sustainable work for all 50 members of the group. Through their crafts, the women have helped provide health care, education and basic food for their families.

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ACTA Honduras { Honduras }

Located in the heart of Central America, Honduras has a very rich artisan tradition. Most of the indigenous and rural artisans are women, keepers of the pre-Columbian and colonial techniques, shapes and secrets. In the hands of Lenca, Miskito, Tawahka, Garifuna, Pech, Tolupan, Maya, Chort and Mestizo women, these traditions are experiencing a renaissance, thanks to the support and design work of ACTA DE HONDURAS. Their artisans produce beautiful pottery and recycled aluminum that they fashion into jewelry, ornaments, gifts and home decor. Lencan Pottery is one of the most known and impressive artisanry of Honduras. The Lenca women produce black pottery, 'spotted' pots recalling the spots of the moon, and artistic objects hand decorated using pre-Columbian techniques.

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El Quinto Sol { Guatemala }

In Solola, Guatemala you can find a true representation of the Mayan traditions in the ceramic jewelry made by El Quinto Sol. They are known for their bracelets woven by women who learned this technique from their Mayan ancestors who made jewelry from ceramic or wooden beads and have passed it on from one generation to the next. Even when making new designs the women always use their Mayan heritage as inspiration. The group consists of twenty women that are the head of household and support their families.

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Rara Bags { Haiti }

Traditional Haitian Rara bands play in the streets during the annual Haitian Carnival, using instruments created from coffee cans and other discarded items. In this same spirit, the tenacious women of Recycled Rara Bags construct their creations from 100% repurposed waste materials. Each bag is handmade from sliced chip and cookie wrappers woven under a plastic mesh typically used to bundle fruit. The designs are the brainchild of K. Lynn McCarthy, who trains underprivileged Haitian women to sew and weave, then employs them, so they can generate income and provide for their families--all while promoting environmental responsibility.

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El Sol Maya { Guatemala }

El Sol Maya works with a group of fifty women in Guatemala. The women work to uphold their customs as Maya Ixil women, of weaving textiles with backstrap looms to generate income for their families. Women receive the thread, which is woven by them in their homes, as per their ancient custom. Their weaving tradition has been handed down from generation to generation, and now they are teaching it to their daughters so this tradition won't be lost. As their group has grown they have been able to open a workshop where women from the region have the opportunity to learn or to improve their textile techniques, and also learn to be businesswomen to improve their quality of life.

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Haiti Projects { Haiti }

The Haiti Projects Women's Cooperative began in 1994, when founder Sarah Hackett was impressed by the embroidery skills of the local women in rural Haiti. But she found that they lacked even the simplest supplies, and by providing them with needles and thread, Sarah realized she was also giving the women the means to earn a living in an area where employment opportunities are scarce. Seventeen years later, the Haiti Projects Women's Cooperative employs nearly 100 women who make beautiful handcrafted embroidery and knit projects. For women like Yonie Jacques (pictured), a local farmer and mother of five, the additional income is life-saving for her and her family.

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CreArte { Guatemala }

Crearte promotes and sells Guatemalan handicrafts. The production of handicrafts constitutes an important source for the generation of employment and income, especially for women in rural aeras. The women are indigenous people who combine long held traditional skills with contemporary elements. Create supports 500 artisans.

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Oyanca { Nicaragua }

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La ComUnidad { Guatemala }

Arising out of Friendship Bridge, a non-profit organization that provides microcredit and educational programs to women in Guatemala, the artisan cooperative La ComUnidad creates beautiful, women-made crafts. The sale of these crafts improves the lives of the women who make them, their families, and their communities as a whole. Friendship Bridge is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that provides microcredit and educational programs so women and their families can create their own solutions to poverty. The organization blends the short-term economic development needs of women through access to credit and education with the long-term goal of breaking the generational cycle of poverty by providing educational opportunities for their children. Friendship Bridge has affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of rural people by investing in women entrepreneurs, first in Vietnam and now in rural Guatemala women who become leaders and agents of change for themselves, their families and communities.

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La Casa { Guatemala }

Since 2000, La Casa Cotzal has designed a range of Guatemalan handcrafted produced by artisan communities throughout the country. Mayan women traditionally have been backstrap loom weavers, but increasingly they are learning to use pedal looms as well. In traditional Guatemalan weaving, the two main specialized techniques are ikat and supplementary weft brocade. Artisans at La Casa are versed in both weaving techniques as well as in intricate bead work. The work provided by La Casa is vital to the women's families and communities.

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Women's Bean Project { United States }

Since 1989, The Women's Bean Project has been dedicated to helping women break the cycle of poverty and unemployment. The Women's Bean, as it's often fondly referred to in Denver, aims to teach workplace competencies through employment in on-site businesses to women who come from backgrounds of chronic unemployment or poverty. The organization helps women discover their talents and develop skills by offering job readiness training. With this stepping stone toward success, the women will be able to support themselves and their families, and create stronger role models for future generations. Jossy Eyre founded The Women's Bean Project as a result of her volunteer work at a day shelter for homeless women. Eyre saw that while the shelter kept women safe, it could not help them make lasting changes in their lives. Eyre bought $500 worth of beans and gave two homeless women work - the first step in building the social enterprise they are today. The training opportunities at the Women's Bean Project have expanded dramatically over the years and they now help many more women.

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Rosie's Place { United States }

Rosie's Place, a sanctuary for poor and homeless women in Boston, offers both emergency and long-term assistance to women who have nowhere else to turn. Since 1996, Rosie's Place has run a successful microenterprise providing part-time, paid work to dozens of women, who create on-of-a-kind jewelry and accessories from buttons. The group provides a nurturing work environment to women who have worked little or not at all. Through introducing women to draft skills and the basics of merchandising, the cooperative aims to foster self-esteem and creativiy, along with employment skills and a source of income.

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Bright Endeavors { United States }

Bright Endeavors is a Chicago non-profit social enterprise, manufacturing and marketing eco-friendly home and bath products, helping single parents (aged 17-24) transition into economic stability. Bright Endeavors provides on-the-job experience to some of Chicago's most at-risk youth. Bright Endeavors is a green business, using vegetable waxes, natural botanicals, Dead Sea salts and reclaimed and recycled glass. Each product is handmade and packaged by motivated program participants. All proceeds are used to support programming for new moms and to place participants into quality, permanent employment.

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Thistle Farms { United States }

Thistle Farms is a social enterprise run by the women of Magdalene, a residential program for women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction and life on the streets in Nashville. By hand, the women create natural bath and body products that are as good for the earth as they are for the body. Purchases of Thistle Farms products directly benefit the women who made them. Thistle Farms employs 35 Magdalene residents or graduates. While working at Thistle Farms, women learn skills in manufacturing, packaging, marketing and sales, and administration. It is a supportive workplace where women acquire the skills they need to earn a living wage. Employees have the opportunity to put a percentage of their earnings into a matched savings account provided by Magdalene. Through Thistle Farms, the women of Magdalene gain much needed job skills, and learn responsibility and cooperation.

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Mission Wear { United States }

Mission Wear Started in 2006 by Beth McWhirter, Mission Wear is a non-profit sewing business that hires women with obstacles to employment. They work to create reusable products: laptop bags, totes and messenger bags among other great products; all made from upcycled materials like marketing banners, denim, T-shirts, burlap coffee bags; as well as other scrap fabrics from interior designers; all fabrics that would otherwise be landfill! Mission Wear has a passion to provide a place for women who are in recovery and need the opportunity to begin building their confidence and sometimes for the first time, a job history.

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Tomorrow Project { United States }

The Tomorrow Project is a work-readiness training program that specifically targets the unique issues of homeless women. Begun in 1994, the need for such a program grew out of Catholic Charities of San Diego's 14 years of providing day center, night shelter, and housing services for homeless women. It became clear the women could use more support to find employment, something that would offer hands-on experience. Thus, The Tomorrow Project was developed to give homeless women worthwhile work that offered opportunity for the women to change their circumstances. While at The Tomorrow Project, the women take advantage of skills assessment and opportunities to 'learn while they earn'.

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Belart { Colombia }

Due to Colombia's ongoing civil war, the rural zones have become dangerous places to work with few opportunities for poor, unskilled, displaced workers, who seek alternatives to working in the coca production industry. Belart is a fair trade organization which works with these displaced and vulnerable communities of women, providing economic opportunities that also promote environmental conservation. Belart's women artisans make beautiful jewelry from the leaf fiber of the agave plant. The agave plant grows in the Serrania del Cocuy mountains. Agave leaves are cut at the base of the plant, then combed with a "carrizo" to separate the fibers, then dried and dyed with water based dyes into a fabric that is bright and beautiful for jewelry making. Jewelry making provides women a productive alternative to the more lucrative, though illegal and dangerous, cocaine trade.

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Jenny Krauss Designs { Peru }

Jenny Kruass Designs started on a trip to Peru in 2008. Jenny fell in love with the traditional embroidery from a region called Ayacucho and soon grew into a social business that now employs1600 artisans. Most of the artisans are women who work at home with their children playing nearby. Jenny Krauss is committed to sustaining traditions and creating sustainable livelihoods through artistic collaborations. For the women the simple act of selling something they made with their hands gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment; something they had never experienced before.

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Sapia { Colombia }

While Columbia has recently achieved a relatively good macroeconomic climate, people in the lower income brackets continue to face serious challenges. Colombia ranks low in income equality, and also possesses one of the highest number of internally displaced persons of any country in the world. Since 2000 Sapia has been working with low-income women artisans using recycled and natural materials to develop beautiful products that have made dramatic changes in the artisans' livelihoods.

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Manos Amigas Peru { Peru }

Manos Amigas is a fair trade organization that works with small artisan organizations throughout Peru. By supporting artisans through training and finding markets for their products, they help to preserve the variety of handcraft traditions of Peru. Manos Amigas, which means 'hands of friendship', gives twenty percent of its profits of help fund social welfare projects, like school scholarships, uniforms, and a feeding program for poor children.

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Pro Pueblo { Ecuador }

Pueblo of Ecuador creates work opportunities, and encourages growth and independent livelihoods for local artisans in their home villages. Diminishing employment opportunities have also left fewer funds for basic education and adequate healthcare. The escalating number of poor single mothers and widows combined with the increase of an already high incidence of male alcoholism prompted ProPueblo to start working to create sustainable economic opportunities. Artisans are offered support in developing new designs with their traditional skills and are offered business expertise in logistics and finances.

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