Here at Jesus' Economy, we believe that together we can make the world a better place. For that reason, our team regularly provides Fair Trade stories that showcase the hope that the Jesus' Economy Fair Trade Shop brings. And 2019 was no exception ...

In 2019, you all continued to show how much you love to read about artisans, their craft, and the hope they have for a brighter future. Stories that provided inspiration and transformation were among the most popular, especially our last series of the year — #GiftingStories. Together, we were motivated to make the world a better place.

Top 5 Fair Trade Stories

Here's the countdown of the top 5 most popular "Fair Trade" articles published on the Jesus' Economy in Action blog in 2019.

#5.Meet Blanca, a Weaver Transforming Her Community

The fifth most popular fair trade story in 2019? A story about Blanca, a Guatemalan weaver who is changing her community from the inside out. She works in the Mayamam Weavers cooperative with other women who are building a stronger community together. These women are choosing to stay in their village rather than leave, working to lift each other out of poverty. Read more in "Meet Blanca, a Weaver Transforming her Community."

#4. Nepal Seamstress' Life Transformed by Micro-Credit + Cultural Craft

The world is full of remarkable young women and Laxmi from Nepal is one of them. Still in her 20s, she took advantage of micro-credit and started her own tailoring shop. Not only has she repaid her microloan, but she's been able to grow her business making stunning scarves and shrugs. Read: "Nepal Seamstress' Life Transformed by Micro-Credit + Cultural Craft."

#3. Meet the Artists Who Are Weaving Hope in Rwanda

In Rwanda, three lifelong friends were taught as children how to basket weave in a program taught by a local church. When they became adults, they used those skills and created a basket weaving business. Because of that business they've been able to do things like start families, buy land, and build homes. Together, they've been unstoppable. Read: "Meet the Artists Who are Weaving Hope in Rwanda."

#2. These are a Few of our Favorite Things from Haiti ... #GiftingStories

Another story from our #GiftingStories series features beautiful, handmade products from Haiti. The skills that are used to make these items have been passed down for years. And we thought of a few ways you could turn these items into traditions or legacies for your family. Read: "These are a Few of Our Favorite Things from Haiti ... #GiftingStories."

#1. Haiti Artisan's Craft is Transforming a Village ... #GiftingStories

Our most popular Fair Trade story published in 2019 on the Jesus' Economy in Action blog is also from our #GiftingStories series. For the 2019 Holiday season, we chose to celebrate stories of artisans. This one about Benson, a Haitian artisan who works with leather, tells the story of how Benson has transformed his village with his craft. His workshop now provides jobs for other people overcoming poverty. Read: "Haiti Artisan's Craft is Transforming a Village ... #GiftingStories."

And Don't Miss These Articles ...

Bonus Popular Post: Rwandan Artisan's Love and Tenacity Helps Her Community Thrive

Another popular post of 2019 was this beautiful story of a woman from Rwanda whose love and hard work is evident in the products she makes. She taught other people her skill of basket weaving; and out of that effort came a cooperative that is now comprised of 26 women and two men. She brings hope and self-sufficiency to her village. Read: "Rwandan Artisan's Love and Tenacity Helps Her Community Thrive."

And Because We Love This Story: Brazil Families Defeat Poverty by Sharing Cultural Craft

For many families living in impoverished areas of Brazil, there is little hope of ever overcoming poverty. But a long preserved cultural craft is providing a way out of poverty. 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 that changed everything. Read: "Brazil Families Defeat Poverty by Sharing Cultural Craft."

Never Miss a Fair Trade Story

This is the fourth and final article in our "Best of the Year" series. Join us in 2020 for inspiring stories, articles, and updates. It's completely free.

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This holiday season, we're celebrating stories of artisans overcoming poverty by sharing their culture. #GiftingStories

#GiftingStories — Cultural Traditions Gift Life Transformation

In the highlands of Guatemala, a group of women have come together to overcome poverty. Inspired by their culture, they are now empowered to make a change in their lives. Mayamam Weavers, a partner of Jesus' Economy, gives female artisans in Cajolá, Guatemala the ability to make a living right where they live, without migrating and separating their families. 

When you gift products from Guatemala on JesusEconomy.org, you give families a chance to stay together and be lifted out of poverty. You help preserve years of traditional weaving and looming skills that incorporate Mayan design, culture, and color patterns.

Shop Our Favorite Things from Guatemala

 

A Village Being Transformed Through the Gift of Culture

Mayamam Weavers are working hard to provide for their families and teach others how to do the same. 94% of the people of Cajolá live below the poverty line. But the intricate, handwoven efforts of the Mayamam Weavers is providing a better story than poverty.

When women join the cooperative, they're given fair trade wages, basic education through 6th grade level, and access to scholarships to further their education. They're changing their community from the inside out. This holiday season, you can be a part of their story.

A Few Of Our Favorite Things From Guatemala ...

Bags from Guatemala: Weekender Tote Bag in Caramel

love this sturdy weekender tote bag. This bag is perfect for that quick, weekend getaway when you don't want to pack or carry a lot. The holidays are a perfect time to get away for a quick respite and this bag is both beautiful and functional for the occasion.

Toiletry Bags from Guatemala in Caramel Wide Stripe

To go with your weekend getaway bag, snag this matching toiletry bag to store all your freshening up supplies. It's lined with waterproof ripstop nylon so you know everything else in your bag won't get ruined in case something leaks. 

Aprons from Guatemala: Cajola Red

These aprons from Guatemala are handwoven with care and thought. They come in three different styles and even in children's sizes. This red will put you in the holiday spirit and have you whipping up Christmas treats in no time. 

Brocaded Pillows from Guatemala: Black and White

I can't get over the intricate detail of this brocaded pillow. The women who brocade these pillows are inspired by traditional Mayan design and techniques. This pillow will look gorgeous on your couch or as an accent pillow on your bed. 

Belts from Guatemala: Striped Canvas

We love these handwoven belts that are made to last. And a quality belt is something the guy in your life is always looking for. Grab him one of these (so many fair trade belt options!) and you'll get to tell him how buying him the belt provided income for an artisan and their family. 

Shop Our Favorite Things from Guatemala

 

Let Your Holiday Shopping Tell a Story

Every gift from JesusEconomy.org comes with a story to share ... of lives being transformed through craftculture, and a new type of commerce

Be part of the story of artisans preserving their culture. Let your holiday shopping tell a story. #GiftingStories

Gift a Better Story

It seems like we were just ringing in the new year, but somehow it's almost Thanksgiving, and Christmas is going to be here before we know it.

Whether you’re looking for an ornament to spruce up your tree, some decorations to liven your holiday parties, or wonderful gifts to give, Jesus’ Economy has you covered. Our holiday collection is full of beautiful and practical holiday products that are ethically made, fairly traded, and leave a positive impact on the world and the people who made them.

Ornaments

Every Christmas tree needs ornaments to brighten it up. Each ornament can tell a story and be a part of the Christmas celebration. Here are some gorgeous ornaments that tell a story of hope—a story you can tell people when they ask where you got it. And while you’re shopping for your own tree decor, consider buying a few ornaments for friends and family. Tree ornaments make excellent holiday gifts, and here are just a few that are available in our holiday collection.

Ornaments from Haiti: Angel

A Caribbean angel has alighted on your tree, sent directly from sunny Haiti!

 

Ornaments from Haiti: Clay Star   

These clay ornaments are the first products of the brand new clay guild in Jubilee, Haiti.

 

Ornaments from Rwanda: Miniature Baskets  

A weaver uses natural fibers and traditional basket weaving techniques to craft each of these fun little baskets.

 

Ornaments from Guatemala: Tree

Hand embroidered in traditional Mayan design, this cloth ornament is bold and joyful.

  

Ornaments from Haiti: Bottle Pendant

Celebrate the season with these ornaments made from recycled glass and aluminum.

 

Ornaments from Rwanda: Hand-Carved, Tree Branch Bird  

Artisans use Jacaranda branches to carve these charming little birds, which are similar in size to our Rwandan fire finches. They look beautiful clustered against the dark evergreen of a Christmas tree.

Each of these ornaments are intricately designed to add beauty and a story to your Christmas tree this season. Buy one today and change the world through fair trade.

 Shop Holiday Collection 

 

Being in the kitchen can be a frustrating or enjoyable experience, depending on your personality and mood. Not everyone loves to cook, some don't even know how but at some point, cooking is a necessity. That necessity can become routine and mundane. That's why there's a National Cooking Day (and also because Americans love making a day for EVERYTHING) which is today. 

National Cooking Day is meant to encourage and inspire everyone to discover something new and enjoy being in the kitchen. And we thought, what's a better way to be inspired in the kitchen than with products that do the inspiring for you? We've put together a list of items sure to spark your imagination each time you step foot in your kitchen. Starting with the most obvious, the apron (which are currently on sale!). 

Plaid Twill Aprons from Guatemala: Brick and Pumpkin

Aprons are one of the most basic kitchen tools that often get seen as something reserved for grandmas, chefs, and the grill master. But no more. Aprons are handy to keep stains away (especially grease), keep kitchen utensils in to have on hand, and something to wipe your hands on which inevitably happens every 30 seconds it seems. Plus this one is perfect for fall. 

Table Runners from Guatemala: Mustard Plaid

Sometimes all it takes to inspire a beautiful, tasty meal is an inviting table. What better way to look forward to eating meals at your table than with a gorgeous, handwoven table runner? It'll make you want to keep coming back to eat at your table. Plus, we sell coordinating napkins that will really make your table inviting. 

Kitchen Gift Set from Guatemala: Brick and Pumpkin Pot Holder and Towel

To round out the fabric picks and to coordinate with the earlier mentioned apron, we have a potholder and towel set. These bright colors will be sure to ignite an idea as an excuse to use this gripper potholder. 

Banana Leaf Divided Serving Tray from Rwanda

This gorgeous divided serving tray is handwoven with banana tree stalks and leaves. I mean, just looking at this photo makes you want to organize a dinner party immediately and use this to serve drinks to your guests. What better reason than to get in the kitchen and cook than a dinner party? 

Baskets from Haiti: Casserole 14" x 10"

A good, hearty casserole can make all the difference, for a plethora of situations. This casserole basket is handwoven and naturally water resistant. One look and you'll be inspired to cook up a delicious, creamy casserole for yourself, your family, your friends, your neighbors, anybody! 

The Jesus' Economy Fair Trade Shop is full of kitchen products that are handmade and beautifully crafted for you to enjoy in your kitchen for years to come. Plus, they're all made from locally sourced and sustainable materials, not to mention the waste you'll cut down on in your own kitchen (like using fabric napkins that can be washed, for example). Check out our household collection for more products like this for the kitchen and beyond. 

For women living in the small Guatemalan village of Cajolá, working hard all day isn’t enough to provide for their families. There are very few economic and education opportunities in the village, where most will spend their entire lives. 

In fact, 94% of the entire town live below the poverty line. Many do not have access to even basic primary education. Like many other women in Cajolá, Celia wasn’t able to continue her school studies beyond sixth grade. Before joining the Mayamam Weavers co-op, a partner of Jesus’ Economy, Celia could not earn enough to cover the cost of food, clothing, and schooling for her four children. Celia sewed beautiful blouses and wrap skirts in her home, but the wages were not enough. 

By joining the Mayamam Weavers co-op, she joined a group of women who receive fair wages, primary school education through 6th grade level, and access to scholarships for further education through university level. They are changing the future outlook for themselves and their entire family. The women behind the Mayamam Weavers co-op are determined to make their lives better for themselves and their children. With the education and wages they receive from their artistry, they are doing just that.

As a member of the cooperative, Celia took advantage of Mayamam’s scholarship program in 2018. At the age of 36, she finished her middle school curriculum. She was inspired by her new skills in sewing, such as sewing on an industrial machine, putting in zippers, and sewing curves, to continue learning. She is currently studying Fashion Design at the technical school. Because of her passion and eagerness to share what she’s learned, Mayamam Weavers invited her to help with new product development.

The talented artisans at Mayamam not only bring their own craft and style, but also get to learn new skills and methods for creating high quality products.

“Besides being better economically, I have learned skills in sewing that I didn’t know . . . Here (at Mayamam Weavers) we do many different designs of products and I am always learning new things. Here we sew products on industrial machines and that is another skill that I have learned here in my work,” Celia shared. 

Poverty can be crippling in many ways. It can shackle us financially, limit our access to education, and even cause us to struggle spiritually. Once we are empowered with the tools of knowledge and skill, we can begin to look outside of our own needs and think about how we can better our community. Celia and the other artisans with Mayamam Weavers are doing just that. 

You can shop the Mayamam Weavers collection and check out Celia’s work in the Jesus’ Economy Fair Trade Shop.

Shop MayaMam Fair Trade

 

Right now, you can save 33% on select aprons from Guatemala. These beautiful, handwoven aprons are all fair trade. Your apron purchase creates and sustains jobs for women overcoming poverty in Guatemala. This closeout deal is only available while supplies last, so shop soon.

Still Fair Trade, but on Sale

Because fair trade is all about ensuring everyone in the supply chain is paid fairly, we rarely are able to put items on sale on JesusEconomy.org. Today's price is already the best price we can offer. But every once in awhile, a special opportunity comes along where we can honor our fair trade commitment while offering you an even better deal. Such is the case when it comes to a closeout deal on a particular product line.

Our partners in Guatemala, Mayamam Weavers, are working on some new styles and thus we're able to offer a special deal on some closeout items from last year's product line. That makes this deal on aprons really rare.

Save 33% On These Fair Trade Aprons

 

 

The Story Behind These Handmade Aprons

Mayamam Weavers, a partner of Jesus' Economy, creates handwoven home goods and accessories for modern living—inspired by the rich colors, patterns, and traditional weaving techniques of Mayan culture. Mayamam Weavers was founded in 2008 as a cooperative of women in Cajolá, a Mayan town in the western highlands of Guatemala. To overcome poverty, the women came together to provide jobs within their community, rather than migrate to the U.S. and separate their families. The co-op has now grown to 20 weavers and seamstresses, all earning fair trade wages while learning the skills to run a business.

Save on Aprons from Guatemala

 

This is Blanca. She lives in Cajolá, a small village in Guatemala. Blanca—and all of the women who make up the Mayamam Weavers cooperative—is determined to make her life better for her and her family, in spite of the circumstances working against her. In Cajolá, 94 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. This means that families often do not have access to basic necessities, and their children do not have access to education.

But the Mayamam weavers co-op is changing things for Blanca. Because of the group, she has access to practical education that allows her to provide for herself and her family. She is able to earn fair wages for her work, and this enables her to offer a more empowered future for her children.

All of the women who work with the co-op, which creates beautiful home goods with traditional Mayan patterns, receive fair pay in addition to primary school education through the sixth grade level, and access to scholarships for further education if they’re interested. Rather than leave Cajolá to find a better economy elsewhere, these women have chosen to to stay in their village and invest in their local community.

Blanca believes in the future. She believes in taking care of her family and in honoring her home.

Learn more about the Mayamam Weavers and check out some of their stunning creations.

 

One of the greatest features of Fair Trade products is their bright, colorful and inspired designs that are sure to spark a conversation with someone. When pieces are unique or colorful, people are drawn to it and tend to want to know where it came from. This is when items from Jesus Economy can really shine because you have the opportunity to share with them all that fair trade item does.

Here's a few products from our Fair Trade Shop that'll be sure to start a conversation. 

Cross Body Bags from Guatemala in Emerald Green

Baskets from Rwanda: Teardrop Tri-Color

Belts from Guatemala: 47" with Horn Buckle

Earrings from Haiti: Mafi Pendant in Blue

 

Tote Bags from Haiti: Afrique

Baskets from Rwanda: Constellation in Tea and Bordeaux with Border

Pillows from Haiti: Canvas and Leather Nouveau

Table Napkin Sets from Guatemala: Berry Jubilee Striped

There's still a week left to Fair Trade Month, so grab your Fair Trade item and get ready to tell all your friends why it's a piece of hope. 

 

Father’s Day is getting closer, and maybe you’ve had that perfect gift planned since January, or maybe you’re drawing a blank on what to get your dad. But don’t worry, we can help! JesusEconomy.org has many great gifts your dad will love because they are made ethically, fairly traded, and the gift will come from you—his favorite child, obviously.

Wallets from Haiti: Goat Leather

All wallets wear out eventually, and maybe your dad is in need of a new wallet with that new leather smell. This leather wallet from Haiti is standard size and has pockets for cash and credit cards, including a photo window  so he can include that photo of his favorite child. 

Leather Luggage Tags from Haiti

Everyone needs a vacation every now and then, but especially parents. Give your dad a luggage tag he can use when he takes a much-needed break. Or buy a few tags because, let’s face it, your dad will probably want to take his family along.

 Journals from Haiti: Saddleback Leather

Does your dad need a new, sturdy journal for business meetings or jotting down his classic dad jokes? This handmade journal from Haiti comes in several sizes and is perfect for anything he might want to take note of.

Aprons from Guatemala: Black and White Stripe

Picture this: it’s a typical Sunday barbecue, and your dad gets a stain on his Sunday shirt—what else is new? But if you give him an apron from Guatemala, he can avoid the stain remover and continue to barbecue in style.

 Men’s Logo T-Shirt from Uganda

Dads never run out of T-shirts, yet they always seem to need more. Add one to his collection with this T-shirt from Uganda featuring the Jesus’ Economy logo. This shirt represents the global focus of fair trade, and you can tell him about where the shirt came from and what it stands for.

Gift Card

Hopefully we gave you some ideas for what to get your dad to say "thank you" for all he’s done. But if you’re stumped, get a gift card so he can pick out exactly what he wants.

 Everything in our fair trade store is created ethically and fairly traded. Your purchases will support artisans around the world as you thank your dad for supporting you.

Every Sunday, we will be featuring products from the Fair Trade Shop selected by a member of the Jesus' Economy team. Every product selected is one they've personally bought, used, and fallen in love with. 

This week's pick was selected by Charlotte Van Werven, intern in content production, producing one fabulous blog post after another. 

Kitchen Gift Set from Guatemala: "Stormy Blues" Pot Holder and Towel

 

Mayamam weavers are bringing intricate, handwoven pieces of Mayan culture to your home. This pot holder and towel set from Guatemala is made of sturdy, handwoven 100% cotton while incorporating traditional Mayan design. The pot holder features grippers and an insulbrite lining and the towel has a hanging loop. Plus, they're both machine washable and dryable. 

Charlotte is a a recent college graduate who is getting ready to go to grad school. She doesn't have time for hand wash items or products that won't hold up in her kitchen. Plus, since she's on a tight college budget, she can't afford to keep buying new ones after cheap quality ones fall apart. 

"The pot holder and towel set from Guatemala are some of my favorite things in my kitchen. They hold up in the wash, and they look really nice. To me, fair trade kitchen items are a no-brainer because I need and use them daily. I try to be responsible with my shopping, and that includes shopping fair trade and eliminating waste. These items let me do both!" - Charlotte 

Check out all the colors we offer in the pot holder and towel sets, plus all the kitchen towels and cloth napkins we have!

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