I recently learned of an amazing organization called Connected in Hope, which helps provide women artisans in Ethiopia with sustainable, fair trade income. Like the founder of Connected in Hope, I feel a deep connection to the women of Ethiopia. Also- I really like nice scarves!I’ve been wearing mine every day for a week.
Connected in Hope is generously offering a scarf as a giveaway to one of my readers. Go like their fb page and then leave a comment here telling me that you did. I’ll draw a name at random next week and you can pick any scarf from their website.
And should you want to just go and order one, use the discount code HOPE10 for 10% off!
Here is the story of Connected in Hope, from their founder:
At 49 years old, Mulu’s face tells the story of the hardship she has endured. When she was in her early twenties she escaped an abusive husband and fled the Ethiopian countryside for Addis Ababa. Hoping to find a better life and more opportunity in Ethiopia’s capital city her dreams were quickly dashed. Having limited education and no skills she was forced to begin the job of carrying fuel wood.
Mulu’s work as a fuel wood carrier began long before the sun rose over Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She left her sleeping children, quietly slipped out of the door and made her way to the jungle. For the next few hours she collected eucalyptus branches from the forest floor, gathering them into a thick bundle. Hoisting the 75 lb. bundle to her back, Mulu began the long hike to the market in the center of the city. Mulu’s back hunched over from the tremendous weight and her muscles burned as she walked; the physical toll that this work was taking on her body evident with every step. Mulu knew the birr she hoped to earn, worth less than $1 USD, would be enough to pay for her medication and feed her children just for that day. If she was fortunate, she would sell all the fuel wood and start her long walk home by late afternoon. Tomorrow, long before dawn, she would begin again.
Following the adoption of our youngest son Joseph from Ethiopia in 2009, my family and I felt a compelling desire to give back to the kind and loving people of his birth country. A subsequent visit to Ethiopia brought us face-to-face with women like Mulu, burdened with bundles of fuel wood. We learned about the enormous challenges they face every day in an effort to provide even the basics for their families. We met children forced to quit school and work when the complications of HIV/AIDS left their mothers too ill to support the family. The faces of the women fuel wood carriers and their children were imprinted on our hearts and left us forever changed – and committed!
We met a group of former fuel wood carriers who had been taught to weave scarves; however, with a very limited market, they weren’t selling enough to be able to support their families. It was through interactions with these amazing women, that Connected in Hope Foundation was born.
Connected in Hope was founded to help these women build their weaving business so it could provide each of them with a sustainable, predictable, and Fair Trade income. The weavers are paid upfront for their beautiful, hand woven scarves, which we then bring to the international market through our website, retail stores and trunk shows. Once the scarves are sold, 100% of the profit is re-invested in programs that benefit the women and their families. We take a holistic approach that goes beyond Fair Trade to include improved educational opportunities and increased access to basic health care.