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CWOW is different from most Fair Trade stores.  We even take a different approach than most nonprofits that focus on solutions for needs.  
We are a training organization that always starts by identifying ASSETS people already have rather than focusing on PROBLEMS. 

We find out what is working well for the women with whom we work-- their skills, their willingness to challenge their circumstances with creativity and their innate design as a person that gives them the capacity to meet a genuine market need with a successful business. 

Creativity is not defined only as being artistic but able to look at what is and imagine what could be!

Most of the women come from horrific circumstances, extreme poverty and medical issues like HIV and long histories of abuse but we hardly notice the effect of that when we see their eyes light up, their shoulders go back and heads raise in confidence as they begin to recognize their true value! 


When they realize they have the power to choose, a whole new world opens up to them!



We, "International Advocates" representing CWOW, train them through a six module course of study that we have written with them in mind. It is usually given over the course of a week or two and gives them a lot of practical material as well as a deep awareness of their inherent purpose.  After our training is done, we leave them with a local leader to mentor them through the process of starting or growing their businesses. That leader is our CWOW liaison and we guide her as needed but we keep it as autonomous as possible.  She is called a "Local Advocate".

The training modules are

  1. Identify your Assets- What do you already possess that meets a need?

  2. Meet your Market- What will you make or do and to whom will you sell?

  3. Maximize your Financials: How can you keep your business sustainable?

  4. Transform your Relationship: As a business woman, how will you bring transformation to your family, your co-workers and your community?

  5. Grow your Capacity: How will you meet the needs of a growing business?

  6. Secure your Future: How can a business plan help to maintain your successful business?

 A CWOW trained business is considered successful WHEN our women have:

  • An active business
  • Highly creative products
  • Quality manufacturing
  • Stable cash flow
  • Sustainable capacity
  • Continued ethical behavior 

We have worked with hundreds of women directly in eleven countries but the number of people affected by the learning they have acquired from CWOW is exponential!  There are scores of children in Haiti who got to go to school because their moms could now pay the school fees and for school uniforms.  Women in Kenya with HIV could hold up their heads in pride in spite of the severe ostracism they used to experience when people learned of their status.  They knew they now had the power to make an income that could allow them to help their neighbor in need and suddenly their status was no longer a stigma.  And when a woman who has been trafficked is given an opportunity to create with her hands and doesn’t have to depend on someone else who has controlled her body, the light from her smiles literally sparkles! 

There is no need for shame.  There is only dignity!



After training, it takes $1 a day to mentor one woman through the CWOW program. Initial training costs $250 but then each woman is given the opportunity to receive year round support from one of her own Local Advocates and your mentoring gift supports that program.  We have donation cards at the shop and online that come in increments of $10, $25, $50, $100 and $250. You can even give the card as a gift and your friend will see the significant benefits your gift makes! 
We need your gift today!  We have been invited to go again to Malawi to train a very eager group of women there.  When we wrote and told them that we sadly had to wait for the training in 2015, they were crushed!  They offered to let us stay in their homes and feed us rather than having us stay in a guest house so we could save money.  But unfortunately, the biggest expense is flying over there and they couldn't understand that.  They are from what is considered the poorest country in Africa and flights there are more expensive than any other country CWOW has flown to.  By their standards of $300 per capita annual income it would cost TEN YEARS to pay for one ticket.  That is much too much for them to comprehend so we just said we would tell their story and try to get there as soon as we could!  

We are so privileged to work with each of these women.  We know their names.  We care about their children.  We know what they like to serve for dinner when they can and we KNOW that their lives make a difference in their communities through the power of their own CREATIVITY and sense of purpose!