Every choice we make has an impact that ripples out farther. As we fight to alleviate global poverty, we are reminded of the chain that is created when we help just one person.

Through the Empowering Women program in Bihar, India, 40 women will receive business training so they can turn their existing struggling businesses into thriving businesses that sell products internationally.

But it doesn’t stop there. Each of those 40 women has a family. She probably has at least two children. When her business flourishes, she is able to provide for her family. She will be able to afford for her children to go to school. Her children will gain an education, become literate, and have a better future. These children will go on to have kids who will also be able to attend school; and the financial stability ripples onward.

No one action is isolated. If one woman is funded to go through the training program, she lifts her entire family out of poverty, and creates a stable foundation for all her descendants to come.

The training helps the individuals and the families, but also the community. As the financial state of families improves through the success of the businesses, Bihar will also obtain increasing economic strength. When the businesses start selling their products internationally, a door is opened for more money flow in Bihar. Today, the businesses are only selling to local people; money doesn’t leave the villages, and money doesn’t come in. It's essentially trading hands over and over again. But in the future, opportunities for ecommerce will improve the economy on a larger scale, thus helping lift the entire community out of poverty, too.

Ending poverty isn’t an overnight thing. It’s going to take time, but we have to start somewhere. Let’s start with the 40 women and their families.

So far, we have raised $4,685. The entire program costs $23,000. Let’s do the math. If each of the 40 women are supporting two other people, that means 120 people will be directly lifted out of poverty through the program. This means it takes $190 to lift a person out of poverty, or $575 to empower a woman to lift her whole family out of poverty. That’s a small amount of money when you think about the immeasurable impact it will have.

We still need to raise $18,315. If 100 people donated just $10, we’d be $1,000 closer to our goal. Want to help us get there?

By partnering with us, you can empower a woman in Bihar, India to change the cycle of poverty for the future of her family. Be a part of this change and consider giving financially today.

100 percent of your donations go directly to India to support job creation efforts.

 

Any skill has less value if it is not paired with practical application. At Jesus’ Economy, we recognize this, and we work to put practicality into action as we alleviate poverty.

As part of our Renew Bihar, India project, we are raising funds to train women in tailoring and business so they will become equipped to more successfully run their own businesses. This is part of the empowering women program.

A trainer will teach 40 women how to expand their business in a one-week training session on product development, employee management, accounting, and business ethics. After that training is complete, another trainer will offer two weeks of hands-on product development training and further business ethics. The product development trainer will then be available for the following 10 weeks to offer free consulting to the women.

A Platform for International Business Success

These business skills will need practical application. This will come as a platform for business in a western market. Rather than teach the women of Bihar useful skills and then step out of the picture, Jesus’ Economy is dedicated to working alongside them and helping their businesses flourish.

After the training, the women will be eligible for a microloan from Jesus’ Economy to purchase supplies for their expanding businesses. The microloan fund will cover up to 20 women, anticipating that only 50 percent of the women in the program will also choose to receive the microloan. A microloan from Jesus’ Economy will help a woman purchase supplies for her expanding business.

After all the women—not just the ones who choose the microloan—are trained and have a year to create products, Jesus’ Economy will purchase the goods and sell them in our online fair trade shop. The fair trade shop will provide a large customer base for these businesses, and having these products in one market will increase the buying power of the customer base. We will provide a western market connection, and their businesses will continue to grow. The growth of businesses means more jobs, and more jobs means more connections. Combining business training with e commerce creates a cycle of success and empowerment rather than one of poverty and hardship.

Jesus’ Economy is changing the economic paradigm by becoming the guaranteed buyer of the products and selling them online. The women will have moved from being tailors and seamstresses to running a full company that sells products internationally. Bringing business training and e commerce together to alleviate poverty.  

Jesus’ Economy has a heart for alleviating poverty through fair trade. Our empowering women program will help women in Bihar, India financially support their families and break the cycle of poverty. Join us in the movement!

 

Join us in our endeavor to help women become independent and build strong businesses by donating to our microloan fund

If we are to be truly Christian, we cannot let Christianity be merely an idea.

“But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. … For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (James 2:18, 26 ESV).

Christianity is about our life values changing—from our beliefs to our actions; from how we think about our money to how we spend it; from how we think about time to how we use it.

We cannot look at the suffering of our world and do nothing about it, and still call ourselves Christians. The way we view our faith should change absolutely everything about how we live—from our giving to our shopping, from our faith to our deeds. Being Christian should change the very way we view the world.

Our world is more interconnected than ever before. The opportunity to end extreme poverty is greater than it has ever been—meaning we’re more likely to do so. But for that to happen, Christians have to step up and live the values of our faith. 

Christianity must be a movement based on self-sacrifice. And the time is ticking for us to make that a true statement. Because there are people already exploiting our interconnected world: Think of the 2012 factory fire in Dhaka, Bangladesh; child labor being used to make products; and many other horrific atrocities that have resulted from manufacturing clothing alone. We don’t often think about it, but our purchase choices—when we buy cheap stuff, made cheaply—are contributing to global inequality. And this is just one example among many of where Christians should be setting a better example.

We Need to Be Better Informed about Fair Trade

We need to be better informed; we need to make better purchasing decisions. And we need to have more fair trade purchasing options—options that involve the fair treatment and payment of workers. We also need to empower the impoverished in the process.

Our world has already recognized the value of the interconnected globe, and the potential of developing economies, but Christians are struggling to catch up. 

We saw how connected our world was on the day that Facebook purchased WhatsApp for $19 Billion dollars. Think about that: $19 Billion. When Facebook made the purchase of the messaging system WhatsApp for this staggering figure, one of the main reasons cited by analysts was that WhatsApp customers represented an emerging market. And many of these customers were in the developing world! The emerging market that analysts had in mind were developing world customers. Wall Street is now calling the developing world an emerging market.

Our world is interconnected. The question is whether we, as Christians, will leverage these connections for the betterment of the impoverished or allow the impoverished to be exploited?

Leveraging Our Interconnected World to Improve It

We can leverage the connections in our world for the betterment of everyone. One idea: provide online commerce opportunities to the impoverished. Give them direct-to-customer access. At Jesus’ Economy, we’ve pictured this as an online Fair Trade Shop.

And lest anyone say that this won’t fix the problem. Think of this anecdotal evidence: Amazon.com is already valued at over $900 per share and many estimate it will cross $1,000 per share. Its wealth alone is much greater than many developing countries. That’s how much economic power there is in commerce. I think capitalism can be redeemed—for the good of everyone. Capitalism can help us create global equality.

Imagine What Could Be

Imagine if online fair trade opportunities were also connected into a global network of experts who could train the impoverished on hard business skills (such as accounting); moving through a product development cycle; and ethical business practices. And then imagine, if the impoverished who received this training had access to microfinance (small loans) to grow their businesses—to purchase tools or hire staff.

We must look at the world differently. By and large, the world has been looking at microfinance as something limited to a local economy. In current microfinance models, we have one poor tomato farmer selling to one poor cattle farmer—and dollars within the economy are just exchanging hands. One person may become wealthier but the overall economy is still impoverished. We need a new microfinance model.

What we need is money coming into an impoverished community from the outside. This is where global ecommerce comes into play. In our interconnected world, I can manufacture Jesus’ Economy branded t-shirts in Kampala, Uganda and bring money into the local economy simply through the purchasing power of U.S. buyers. In return, I can create jobs for a group of impoverished young people.

I can help not just with my giving but also with my shopping. My dollars say what I believe in.

This would mean a new economy. It would mean renewal. Money would sweep in from the developed world into the developing world and lift entire families out of poverty. This is the type of thing that Christians can do together—to end extreme poverty. This is one way we can show people that Christianity is more than an idea. This is one way for us to create a more just and equitable world.

 

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As the start of the holiday season approaches, many of America’s largest retailers and merchants anticipate an enormous influx of holiday spending on Black Friday. At Jesus’ Economy, we have found a way to make your spending count for good. With your help, on November 29th, Black Friday can be about giving back while you shop.

Our discounted collection of fair trade products from Haiti will be on sale for one day only—each product purchase supports artisans in Haiti. And not only will you receive beautiful products at generous discounts, but all profit will go back into creating jobs, planting churches, meeting basic needs, and our general operations—to fund life transformation in some of the most impoverished regions of the world. The artisan makes a profit, and Jesus’ Economy reinvests all of its profit in life transformation.

Our aim on November 29th is to match your shopping needs with the basic needs of the developing world. We hope that you will join us in our mission to transform lives and show the love of Christ around the world through our Black Friday Collection.

“All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66:2 ESV). 
 
Isaiah 66:2 says that God made us with his own hand. Our lives with God become personal and purposeful when we understand that He is the artist and we are the canvas, intricately and uniquely designed for his good purposes. Handmade design takes deep thought, time and personal consideration—something that has been partially lost with the rise of mass printing, high volume manufacturing and duplication. 
 

Transform Kenya: Handmade Greeting Cards

Peter Maina, an African artisan, understands the inherent value in personal design and selfless handiwork. He makes his living by selling hand-painted greeting cards in Nakuru, Kenya. Every 5”x4” card is unique, and signed by Peter. Through the creation of his handmade greeting cards and other projects, Peter has purchased land and erected a house for his family, as well as put all three of his children through school. The people of Nakuru are suffering terrible poverty and malnutrition, but artisans like Peter bravely face poverty by laboring to improve his and his family’s living conditions. Jesus’ Economy partners with The Tembo Trading Education Project to provide a way for people just like you to bring life transformation to Kenya and others around the globe and receive the beautiful fairtrade products that Peter and others work hard to create in the process.
 

Supporting an Artisan Creates Jobs

Each time Jesus’ Economy buys Peter’s cards from Tembo, the profits from each purchase go directly to funding transformational education and further entrepreneurship in the community in order to change lives through business. Then, when Jesus’ Economy resells the cards to you, we put all profit from your purchase directly into life transformation around the world—microloans, church grants, meeting needs, and our ongoing operations.
 
Ordering a 5-pack of Peter’s hand-painted greeting cards means you are literally helping lift the Nakuru community out of poverty and suffering. Your set may illustrate a sunset with the baboons, twilight with elephants, midday with gazelles, or other scenes—every single handmade greeting card pack is unique. We hope that you will share these beautiful handmade greeting cards with your friends and loved ones. 

Microloans are extremely effective. At one point, they were even believed to be the “silver bullet” for helping others. However, even a great idea can be improved upon. Here are five reasons why a new kind of microloan is needed.

1. Economic reality dictates that microloans are a very slow way for someone to move out of poverty.

One of the best things about microloans is that a person who receives a loan becomes self-sustaining rather quickly. But, this does not mean that they have moved out of poverty. If one poor tomato farmer sells their product to one poor butcher, the money is just exchanging hands and/or the profit margins are very slim for each. Their lives are significantly better, but not exponentially better. It’s exponential growth that needs to happen in the developing world.

2. A product-based business not connected to the Internet is missing a massive sector of the market.

In Western world culture, we wouldn’t dream of launching a product-based business without an online presence. It’s likely that we would even attempt to sell online, perhaps even exclusively. It is not logical to think that a business in the developing world will grow quickly that is not doing the same. By connecting a developing world business to online ecommerce, their business could become big, fast; and that means more jobs.

3. Markets dictate quality.

A product line is stronger when it is exposed to a larger market sector. Typically, the larger your market sector, the better your product needs to be, because there are more demands on your company from consumers. This puts the necessary pressure on a company to become stronger, faster, and thus more sustainable.

4. Job creation is what microloans are really all about.

If job creation is what microloans are really all about, then being in the business of creating very small (often family) companies is not sufficient. These micro enterprises are not in the position to hire more people; their business model doesn’t allow for it. A business model connected to the Internet would.

5. There is buying power when products are brought together in one place.

A large customer base is necessary for a company to grow rapidly. When many products are brought into one market place, in an elegant way, the amount of buying power of the customer base generally increases. This is part of why Amazon.com is such a successful company. If a set of quality products from the developing world were brought into one place, the customer base would also likely increase, creating a better chance of collective success.

Jesus’ Economy envisions creating a large microloan program with ecommerce in mind. We’re going to supplement this with training of entrepreneurs, including biblical ethics training to ensure that corruption does not destroy the investments we make. We plan to bring together entrepreneurs’ products into one large marketplace—to create a network effect that is good for the fair-trade minded customer and for the businesses. All proceeds will be automatically reinvested in the work of Jesus’ Economy. We believe that this will create economic change in communities; it will create jobs.

You can donate today to microloans with ecommerce in mind.