MODA ESPERANZA AND OTHER LOCAL BUSINESSES
SIMPLE POP TABS TURNED INTO BEAUTIFUL FASHION, AND CREATING HOPE AND OPPORTUNITY FOR MANY HONDURAN WOMEN AND THEIR CHILDREN
The pop tab is a simple thing, one that many of us discard without a second thought, but in Honduras, through Moda Esperanza, the simple pop tab is changing lives. Honduran women working with them are now earning a fair wage, while still being able to care for their children, by turning recycled pop tabs into beautiful purses, belts, bracelets and other fashionable accessories.
Moda Esperanza began in 2009 by co-founders Felicita Guitierrez, a Honduran woman with massive amounts of creativity and drive and Lisa Weinberger, an American woman with years of corporate business and special education teaching experience who had a vision of empowering women domestically and abroad through the use of their creativity. Using yarn, easily collected pop tabs, and the support of charities such as the Ronald McDonald House and the Footprints Foundation based in Chicago, Moda Esperanza was born. In the last seven years they have trained 36 Honduran woman, many of whom are single mothers and orphans, to create beautiful products that allow them to support their families in a sustainable way.
In 2016 Creative Women of the World, joined forces with Moda Esperanza, offering business training and market distribution to the woman involved with this project and other local business women. In April, 2016 CWOW founder Lorelei VerLee traveled with the organization's co-founder Lisa Weinberger to Honduras, where she trained Moda leaders and other community business women with their asset based business curriculum. After that empowering and inspiring experience, a new partnership was formed. CWOW is now the exclusive distributor of Moda Esperanza. The profits made from the sales of these products are 100% recycled into helping others soar with hope.
HAITIAN ARTISANS FOR PEACE INTERNATIONAL (HAPI)
TRANSFORMING HAITI THROUGH THE EMPOWERMENT AND ADVOCACY OF WOMEN
It is not uncommon in Mizak, Haiti to see a woman leading her donkey, laden with mangos or other goods going to market. Once she gets down the mountain, she will spread a blanket on the ground and try to sell. She has one thing on her mind—sell enough to buy rice and beans for her family to eat that night. She worries that she might not sell enough and all she will have for them are the mangos she brought to market. If she were to think about the future, she would wonder if she will have enough to pay for school fees and uniforms for her children but survival is her focus right now.
But in reality, she is one of the luckier ones. She has a tree that gave her mangos. She has a donkey to help carry them. When we met Navive, she was not so fortunate.
When Haitian Artisans for Peace International, HAPI, started in 2007, the goal was to provide economic access for women like Navive. Widowed at a relatively young age with seven children to care for, she found herself kicked off the land where they had lived because her husband’s family no longer claimed her. She had nowhere to turn and was desperate. When she joined a group of 30 to hear the plan, it was obvious most of the women had embroidery skills and they enjoyed working together. But what would developing a new business look like?
Almost seven years later, after listening, mentoring and offering access, amazing strides have been made in their community. HAPI has not only provided jobs for women but the village’s first accessible clinic has been established where health care workers are trained to work in community homes. A children’s program called Peace Pals inspires character building and vision for a brighter future. And a beautiful two store community building has been built where artisans can work and sell their products, classes can be taught and satellite internet is available so all of them can have access to a world only imagined at one time.
Women in Mizak, Haiti have seen major shifts in their day-to-day lives but one of the gifts they appreciate the most, is the gift of dignity and respect. They are proud to be able to support their families and we are proud of them! To read about the individual artisans click "read their story" below...
CWOW LOCAL ADVOCATE
Just a few short years ago, Grace, was a radiant young bride. Her handsome husband was well respected in the community and a year later, she gave birth to a beautiful young daughter. But within months, her whole life was shattered. Her husband was driving back from the Nairobi airport where he had dropped off a group of volunteers who had eagerly given their time at his non-profit. On the way home he was flagged down by some men he thought were police, but they had only selfish motives. They wanted his car so shot him dead.
Grace was devastated but trusted that God would protect her and her young daughter, Kelley. She started to make jewelry but when her friend from the US, Jen Foster (http://internationaladvocate.wordpress.com), offered to connect her to CWOW, she became very excited. She quickly absorbed the business training we offered, created a business model and now works with other women helping them develop their businesses. Grace is CWOW’s exporter and liaison and an amazingly gifted business woman.
Thirty years ago, AIDS was a mysterious and scary disease that was an almost certain death sentence. Those known to have it or to even be HIV positive, were shunned by most of society. Education is still important but research, mostly done in Africa, has provided medications that allow people to live relatively healthy and productive lives. In Kenya four women have a business called Mwangatu, which means “Light of Hope” in Swahili. They are overcoming the stigma of HIV by building their business and using it as a vehicle for education. The Red Bead calls for solidarity, education and compassion for those dealing with AIDS/HIV.
THE NOZOMI PROJECT, TRANSLATED "HOPE" FROM JAPANESE
DEDICATED TO BRINGING HOPE TO WOMEN WHO ARE THE SURVIVORS OF THE 2011 EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI IN ISHINOMAKI, JAPAN.
The Nozomi Project
"Beauty from Brokenness"
The Nozomi Project, translated “hope” from Japanese, is dedicated to bringing hope to women who are survivors of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Ishinomaki, Japan. Nozomi women are working in community to create one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry using broken pottery left in the wake of the tsunami. As each colorful shard is transformed into a beautiful treasure, so too lives are being filled with renewed dignity, beauty and hope for their future.
CWOW and The Nozomi Project
In the winter of 2013 Lorelei Verlee, CWOW founder, traveled to Ishinomaki, Japan to meet with the women of the Nozomi Project. The impact of one of the most devastating tsunamis in history is still evident everywhere from the still desolate school yard to the significant increase in the numbers of people without adequate housing and barely functioning infrastructure. Creative Women of the World has made a commitment to support these brave women as their lives are being transformed.
Tsunami survivors create beauty from brokenness!
Lorelei VerLee— “Seventeen years of my childhood were spent in Japan and every summer we vacationed in a beach community near Sendai in northern Japan. I remember hearing my Japanese friend from that area talk about a time in the mid-50’s when a tsunami lifted up the house she lived in and moved it several feet over while she was in it! She was so scared but she and her family survived. How could we know that decades later in 2011 another tsunami would come that destroyed tens of thousands of homes and swept thousands of lives out to sea. My heart stopped when the 7.2 earthquake that shook for over five minutes was announced on our news. Part of my family still lived there but even though they were in Tokyo, hundreds of miles from the epicenter, they felt the unimaginable impact. Suddenly everyone knew Japan would never be the same. I found that to be true on my visit in January and February two years later. As kids we were used to frequent earthquakes and knew the rituals to follow but when you combine the magnitude of that earthquake along with the subsequent tsunami and radiation leaks, people felt extremely vulnerable and powerless. Every aftershock revived the tension closely held inside. Their culture does not lead them to express emotions easily.
On this trip I was able to visit Ishinomaki, one of the most severely devastated areas. On the way there I went right through Matsushima where the nuclear plants still have major radiation concerns. I drove by large areas of land with nothing but weeds where hundreds of homes had once stood. I saw the school where families had run for protection but it too was flooded by the ocean waters. The stench of rotting fish, people and garbage that lingered for months had dissipated but the spirit of the town carried a lot of pain.
In the midst of this disaster scene I was invited into a small art studio in a home where smiling Japanese women of all ages sat on their knees on the tatami floor around a low table. They were part of a cooperative named Nozomi, meaning “Hope” and whose motto is “beauty from brokenness”. Colorful, broken pottery shards had been salvaged from the rubble washed back up on shore and their skillful hands were creating beautiful pieces of jewelry from them. They began by grinding the edges of the shards to eliminate any sharp edges and carefully attached attractive bales or findings. I was amazed to watch them carefully match the colors of the shard with beads that they hand tied into place around a necklace. They looked for complementary designs and shapes for sets. They carefully chose the names of the designs in honor of someone who survived the tsunami or in memory of loved ones who did not. Then with each finished product they proudly signed an artisan card that they knew would connect them to a woman who would advocate for them around the world.
Creative Women of the World is delighted to partner with this amazing group of women. We want you to know their stories, not just of their tragedy but of their courage, their strength and their creativity. By purchasing their artwork you have the power to let them know they and their loved ones will not be forgotten.”
SETU - THE BRIDGE TO ARTISANS
STANDS AS THE BRIDGE BETWEEN POVERTY AND SELF-SUSTAINABILITY
BASKETS OF CAMBODIA
HANDMADE BASKETS & PURSES PROVIDE ARTISANS FROM RURAL CAMBODIA SUSTAINABLE INCOMES & OPPORTUNITIES FOR DIFFERENT SCHOOLING OPTIONS & HEALTHCARE PROGRAMS.
REVY - FAIR TRADE CRAFTS FROM EL SALVADOR
REVY MEANS REVITALIZATION - THESE PRODUCTS HELP PEOPLE OF EL SALVADOR AND THE PLANET AT THE SAME TIME.
Photos by Revy
THE GLOBAL MAMAS COMMUNITY IS COMPRISED OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE FROM AROUND THE WORLD WORKING TOGETHER WORKING TOGETHER WITH THE MISSION OF CREATING PROSPERITY FOR THE AFRICAN WOMEN AND THEIR FAMILIES.
LUCIA'S IMPORTS // DINITZ & COMPANY
THREADS OF HOPE
BRINGING HELP AND HOPE TO CHILDREN AT RISK
Photos by Threads of Hope
CREATIONS BY LILY
CREATIONS BY LILY CELEBRATE THE CULTURAL HERITAGE OF A REMOTE PEOPLE IN THE HIMALAYAN MOUNTAINS WHILE SUPPORTING THEIR LOCAL ECONOMY AND INCREASING THEIR STANDARD OF LIVING.
Photos by Creations by Lily
SSEKO DESIGNS // FIELDS OF DREAMS
TWO AMAZING NON-PROFITS FOCUSED ON PROVIDING PRIMARY THROUGH UNIVERSITY LEVEL EDUCATION FOR UGANDAN WOMEN AND CHILDREN
Photos by Sseko & Fields of Dreams