For many families living in impoverished areas of Brazil, there is little hope of ever overcoming poverty. But several jewelry and basket weavers refused to live the story of poverty. Here's how they defeated poverty by preserving a cultural craft passed down for generations.
The indigenous people of Brazil have been crafting goods from golden grass for hundreds of years because of its durable, flexible, and lightweight nature. But despite golden grass being protected in Brazil—making it so that only a select few can harvest it as part of their traditional craft—it is hard to make a living selling this craft in Brazil since other people in the communities are equally impoverished.
When Cross Trade, a partner organization of Jesus' Economy, first met Silvania (pictured above with her children), she was creating beautiful woven items but selling them in exchange for only a bag of rice to feed her family. Cross Trade invested in Silvania's work and payed her double the rates she used to make.
When you gift the Golden Grass Cesta Trança Basket, you help Silvania lift herself and her family out of poverty. The same is true for other artisans from Brazil.
For other indigenous artisans in Brazil, crafting jewelry out of golden grass has transformed their lives.
For jewelry artist Erlane (pictured above with his children), his entire life has been changed through the commerce opportunity of partnering with Cross Trade. Erlane is now able to provide a sustainable income for his family, offering his children a better life story.
Joelma (pictured above with her sister) also has found hope through crafting beautiful golden grass jewelry. Through her partnership with Cross Trade, and subsequently selling products on JesusEconomy.org, she is beginning the journey of lifting herself and those around her out of poverty through economic opportunity and empowerment.
It is difficult to overstate how much gifts from an online Fair Trade Shop, like JesusEconomy.org, changes the lives of impoverished artisans. When you gift handmade products from JesusEconomy.org, you're part of a better story for impoverished families.
Every gift from JesusEconomy.org comes with a story to share ... of lives being transformed through craft, culture, and a new type of commerce.
Be part of the story of artisans defeating poverty. Let your holiday shopping tell a story. #GiftingStories
Our moms work really hard, and we get to celebrate them in a few weeks on Mother’s Day. If you’re still looking for that special gift for the moms in your life, consider shopping fair trade, and check out all the beautiful gift options we have!
A new pair of earrings is a treat, and here is a lovely pair that is classy and fun. These earrings can be worn with formal, business, or casual outfits, which makes them practical, too!
This bracelet has the elegance of real gold, but is much sturdier for everyday wear. Woven with golden grass, a strong Brazilian plant, this bracelet will hold its shape, too. It’s also perfect for any moms with metal-sensitive skin, and is available with stones in white, pink, and black!
A good basket is a great thing to have, and if your mom doesn’t have one yet, take a look at this one. It is the perfect size for fruits and veggies from the farmer’s market, or for a small picnic at the park. It is made from 100% sweetgrass—an all-natural, renewable, and water resistant resource in Haiti.
Handwoven with 100% cotton, these kitchen towels are vibrant and durable. There are dozens of other colors, so you can find the right pattern to match your mom’s kitchen. These towels are easy to take care of and are machine washable and dryable.
Is your mom’s apron getting a little ragged? Buy her a new one that’s both fashionable and supports families around the world.
It’s almost beach season, and this tote is just the thing for your mom to carry everything she needs as she goes out and about this summer. It’s cute, large enough to carry everything from books to snacks, and is lined with waterproof material.
And if you’re looking for a gift, but can’t find that ‘just right’ something, get her a gift card! A gift card for JesusEconomy.org can be used at the fair trade store, or it can be used to make a donation to one of our programs to end poverty in Bihar, India.
Honor the mothers in your life and get them something special. While you’re at it, purchase a handmade Mother’s Day card from Haiti to go with it.
Dayanne (on the left) makes the Golden Grass Globes bracelet. She partners with Cross Trade, a new partner of Jesus’ Economy, an organization that works with artisans in Brazil to sell their goods to the western market, and help the artisans exit poverty.
Dayanne’s golden grass bracelets are bought for fair wages, thus providing a sustainable income for herself and her family. Because of her partnership with Cross Trade, she has been able to begin the journey of lifting herself and those around her out of poverty through economic opportunity and empowerment.
Golden grass is a renewable and sustainable resource in Brazil, and has been used by locals for many years to create products of all kinds because of its durability and practicality. It grows in the Tocantins region of Brazil, where Dayanne lives. Golden grass is also a protected resource, so only finished grass products can leave Brazil—making these products unique and valuable.
This handwoven bracelet is something special you don’t want to miss. It is classic and simple, but also bold and chic, and will pair nicely with many of your outfits. Buy one for you or one for a friend, and support fair trade artisans in Brazil.
If you’re searching for new accessories, consider shopping fair trade. Fair trade helps people like Dayanne lift themselves out of poverty.
There is true strength in being able to face a disaster and push forward—in working hard despite everything that’s gone wrong. Janet Ntakirutimana of Rwanda exudes this kind of strength.
Imagine being HIV positive, having your spouse die from the same disease in your body, and living in a refugee camp. How does a person find strength and hope in such circumstances? For Janet, strength was found in her care for her two sons.
Everything changed for Janet the day she attended the seminar “Preventing Mother to Child HIV Transmission.” At this seminar, Janet met the future members of Ejo Hazaza. According to Jesus’ Economy’s partner, Indego Africa:
“The women decided to come together to form a cooperative so that they [could] afford baby formula, as an alternative to breastfeeding, to reduce the risk of HIV transmission to their children.”
And so Ejo Hazaza began.
Janet serves as the Secretary for Ejo Hazaza, which is based outside of Kigali, Rwanda. The cooperative includes 29 women, all of whom came from refugee camps, are HIV positive, and desire sustainable incomes. They make products like the Beaded Wrap Bracelet, which is sold in Jesus’ Economy’s fair trade shop.
Ejo Hazaza partners with Indego Africa to sell their beaded products. Indego Africa is working with more than 400 female artisans across nine different cooperatives, using products that come from these cooperatives to positively change lives. They connect women artisans in Rwanda with international markets, and invest all their profit back into Rwandan women through programs focused on literacy training, financial management, and entrepreneurship.
Janet not only has hope for the future, she has a desire to set her business apart:
“I want to acquire a lot of knowledge about how to run a successful business. I also want to learn how to create new designs for products that are different from the ones we are making now because a lot of people are making similar ones” (quote from Indego Africa).
Janet didn’t dwell on her circumstances—instead she decided to take her future into her own hands.
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The fair trade bangle from Rwanda represents overcoming extreme suffering. Tragically, each artisan who creates these bangles has suffered the devastating effects of rape. But as part of the healing process, the women of the Abasangiye Cooperative became very creative. Their creativity has led them towards sustainable incomes through the sale of these handmade bangles and other products.
One of the members of the Abasangiye Cooperative says, “partnering with Indego Africa [Jesus' Economy's partner in Rwanda] has allowed me ... to pay for school fees for my children. By taking me from the loneliness in which I was living and allowing me to be in an environment where I can interact with others, I feel happier and more confident and hopeful.” She’s not the only one: There are many other women who feel the same as her—who now have a happier demeanor and more confidence in a better future.
The women who made these bangles are finding hope is their work—through their efforts, they have steady incomes.
Each bangle is woven from palm leaves, and is 2.5 inches in diameter and 1 inch high. You can choose from a pink pattern or a teal and pink chevron pattern. Each bangle also includes a tag singed by the artisan who created it. The bangles are wonderfully handcrafted, colorfully unique, and are a bookmark to a better future for the women who create them.
Here at Jesus’ Economy we make it so that you can help not only when you give, but also when you shop. Continue the empowerment by purchasing a fair trade bangle from Rwanda today.