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.
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
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."
For most families from extreme poverty situations, there is little hope of ever overcoming poverty. But in Rwanda, there are several co-ops who refuse to live the story of poverty. Here's how they are defeating poverty by preserving a cultural craft passed down for generations.
We all have dreams of what our life stories will look like. But few westerners would articulate that dream in the way a co-op in Rwanda does,
"We hope that in the future, every member [of our co-op] will own her own home with running water and electricity."
The women of the Duteraninkunga Cooperative hope to accomplish this dream through sharing the ancient Rwandan craft of basket weaving. And their story is already changing: through the fair trade wages provided by Azizi Life (a partner of Jesus' Economy), now the weavers can afford to go to the doctor when someone in their family is ill; they also have the resources to send their children to school. On JesusEconomy.org, your holiday shopping tells a better story: you get to be part of a story like this one.
One co-op from Rwanda began with a woman who had a desire to help people in her community live a better story than poverty. To do so, Immaculee Nyiramuhakwa invited a group of other impoverished women to learn to weave. More than 15 years later, the Abaharaniriterambere Cooperative has 26 women and 2 men creating functional household items from banana tree leaves and stalks.
Azizi Life, partner of Jesus' Economy, represents over 400 artisans from 25 independent artisan groups (co-ops) like Abaharaniriterambere Cooperative. This is the story of online commerce empowering artisans to overcome poverty.
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
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.
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.
A Caribbean angel has alighted on your tree, sent directly from sunny Haiti!
These clay ornaments are the first products of the brand new clay guild in Jubilee, Haiti.
A weaver uses natural fibers and traditional basket weaving techniques to craft each of these fun little baskets.
Hand embroidered in traditional Mayan design, this cloth ornament is bold and joyful.
Celebrate the season with these ornaments made from recycled glass and aluminum.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
25 years after genocide devastated Rwanda, a brave woman named Immaculee loved her country so much that she wanted to make a difference. Immaculee Nyiramuhakwa saw the poverty in her home and community, and desired to change the world around her. She is a gifted weaver, and knew how valuable that was. She invited a group of impoverished women to come together and learn the craft. Out of the vision for a better future for their community, the group called themselves the Abaharaniriterambere "People Fighting for Development" Cooperative.
15 years later, the group is comprised of 26 women and 2 men. They are working with excellence in their area of specialty, using locally grown products such as banana leaves to create functional household items.
This reminds me of another Immaculee from Rwanda. Immaculee Illibagiza wrote about her surviving the Rwandan genocide of 1994 in her book, Left to Tell: Discovering God Admist the Rwandan Genocide. She and seven other women survived by hiding in the tiny bathroom of a pastor’s house. She details the terror of it all, but amazingly, also shares the incredible faith she found in Christ in the midst of it. With no personal space and very little food or water, she passed the long hours by reading the Bible and praying. Since then, she has become an inspirational speaker and been involved in many important initiatives for her country.
The resilience of the people of Rwanda is inspiring. Men and women of bravery and fortitude who love their country dearly and desire a better future have worked hard to see it revitalized. Immaculee Nyiramuhakwa is one of those people and helps lift her Rwandan community out of poverty with the weaving cooperative.
The cooperative group’s goal is to develop themselves and their community through their art. In the past year, the group members have been able to use their income to provide food, clothing, and soap for their families. The married women of the group have seen peace and happiness grow in their homes as they have had the opportunity for financial independence and the dignity of being significant contributors to the family’s wellbeing. The members of Abaharaniriterambere use their time together not only to weave and exchange advice, but to discuss important topics such as women’s rights. With Immaculee still leading the way, this group is determined to continue to better themselves and their community, and to stand strong in Rwanda’s vision for a better future. The artisans currently work in the local schoolyard in Nyaruguru District, but they dream of building their own weaving house.
Their beautiful, locally sourced products are made by hand, and are great conversational pieces for the Western market. Entertaining guests with a banana leaf nesting tray or the banana leaf divided serving tray are great ways to serve in style, and more importantly, share the stories of the inspiring people behind the products.
The weaving cooperative is among 30 independent groups in Rwanda who partner with Azizi Life. Azizi Life is a partner of Jesus’ Economy. The vision of Azizi Life is “to participate in local initiatives for the development of Rwandan communities, working towards physical and spiritual wholeness for all.”
When you shop at Jesus’ Economy, you can choose the “Shop Fair Trade by Artisan” feature. Each of our artisans has a special story, and is changing lives in their family and community. You can also choose the “Shop by Country” feature, and choose Rwanda to support Immaculee and the Abaharaniriterambere Cooperative.
Several years ago, the local parish of the Catholic Church in Gisagara District, a southern province in Rwanda, chose several vulnerable children to participate in a year-long program to learn how to basket-weave and in turn provide for themselves and their families. Each of the participants were orphans who were also charged with taking care of their younger siblings and/or elders. Among these children were Sixbert, Media, and Clementine (pictured above).
When their training was complete, and now that they were adults, the three friends decided to join their skills together to build a business. They formed the Amizero Cooperative and are now part of Azizi Life, a partner of Jesus’ Economy. Azizi Life, a fair trade organization dedicated to working with artisans who receive fair wages for their labor, represents 25 independent artisan groups throughout Rwanda. The income the creators earn helps them maintain their businesses and provide for their families, including now having access to medical insurance, school supplies, healthier foods, and financial independence. Azizi Life is transforming Rwandan communities through artists like Sixbert, Media, and Clementine.
A few years ago, Sixbert and Media got married, and now they are building a family. With the money they have earned from their business, they have been able to construct a home with electricity and water for their family, and Clementine has been able to buy land locally.
Sixbert, Media, and Clementine’s specialty is creating home goods from hand twisted banana twine. Leaves and stalks of banana trees are a renewable resource in Rwanda, and if they are woven skillfully, the products will be sturdy and last for many years.
Together Sixbert, Media, and Clementine are running a successful business, and it is their togetherness and their craft that is leading them toward amizero: hope.
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.
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.
Decorative baskets can be a wonderful addition to your home, especially when they're functional and made by hand. We carry a wide variety of hand-woven baskets in our Fair Trade Shop that you can use in your home to add a bit of beauty and functionality.
These handcrafted boxes are a wonderful way to stay organized and hold your belongings beautifully, in fair trade style. Choose from our range of sizes, or choose a nesting set of three. Crafted from banana leaves and stalks, these cubes are strong and sturdy, with open handholds. The large size is designed to fit into all your modular storage shelves.
The Teardrop Basket is handcrafted by artisans of the Peace Baskets Cooperative using the same age-old techniques found in Rwanda’s national museum. Lightweight and delicately woven, this basket makes a beautiful display piece, or can be used to store various treasures! Stands 11.5" tall.
The beautiful capim dourado or 'golden grass' used in our Brazilian woven grass basket collections can be found growing in the Tocantins region of Brazil. It is a protected resource, and its raw grasses cannot be exported. Only the finished grass products of the indigenous peoples of Brazil can be brought into your home--making these items unique and valuable. It comes in three different sizes to suit your needs whether it's for jewelry, keys, knick-knacks, or some delicious baked goods.
This fair trade casserole basket from Haiti is perfect for transporting your favorite casserole dish or just for sprucing it up. It can also be used for storing items or filled with potted plants to make a beautiful centerpiece or window sill decoration. The possibilities are endless!
The Banana Divided Serving Tray is crafted from the locally-gathered leaves and stalks of banana trees. Artisans use a specially designed, handmade needle to thread dried banana leaves around the banana stalks. The result is a super-sturdy tray that’s great for carrying cups. It can be used for all sorts of things like a little shelf or a storage unit for craft supplies; we like to use the tray to hold boxes of tea bags- it’s great for serving guests!
These woven baskets are created from dyed natural sisal fibers woven over a core of forest grasses. The tea color is created when the naturally-white sisal fibers are steeped in Rwandan-grown tea leaves. The large basket is flat on the bottom and makes a beautiful tray for serving or display. Imagine the medium basket on your dining room table filled with warm bread or fruit. The small basket is a beautiful way to hold jewelry or keys, or it may be filled with small treats and used as a gift basket. Each basket has a loop on the back for hanging- the trio looks gorgeous on a blank wall. They come in a variety of colors and patterns.
All of these baskets would look wonderful in your home while carrying a beautiful story of hope. The Jesus' Economy Fair Trade Shop carries several more basket options whether for beauty or storage. Check out our selection of baskets.
Our Fair Trade Shop is full of several handmade products that we love, and one item we have a lot of are beautiful sets of earrings. We've picked five pairs that you'll be sure to fall in love with and want to purchase whether it's for you, your mom, best friend, or sister.
These trendy disc earrings are made by a group of female weavers from Rwanda. They are made with all-natural sisal fibers, using an age old basket weaving technique to create lightweight discs that feel elegant to wear. Completing the look, the hoops are fastened onto hypoallergenic earring hooks.
These handmade, fair trade earrings are modern and chic. Made by a co-op of Haitian women from Jubilee, Haiti, each earring represents a great cause. These ladies have dreams of running their own businesses, sending their kids to school, and supporting their families.
Loop earrings are a great asset to any woman’s jewelry collection. Add this pair for a unique and modern touch. Hand-hammered in Haiti, these earrings are a fashionable accessory that will complete your look and empower artisans through fair trade.
Golden grass is a protected resource, and its raw grasses cannot be exported. Only the finished grass products of the indigenous peoples of Brazil can be brought into your home--making these items unique and valuable. It is durable, flexible and lightweight, making it perfect for jewelry.
Not just for ceremony, you can wear these tassel earrings any day you like! And you'll have reason to celebrate when you realize that you've helped women in extreme poverty situations earn a living.
Spring is almost here and it's time to start thinking about shedding our deep, rich colors and exchanging them for bright, airy colors.
Gear up for spring with products from our fair trade shop that evoke a lightness every time you see them.
This tote just screams spring with its bright yellow color. Take this fun, colorful bag with you to the market! It's great for toting around whatever you need—from yarn to books to groceries!
With this bold pop of color, your bed or couch will be automatically ready for spring once you place this pillow on it. Plus, we offer many different shapes and patterns in vivid colors to help brighten up your home.
When it comes to spring, oftentimes it means it is too warm for a jacket but too cold to go without. This lavender shrug strikes the perfect balance.
Pops of light blue and yellow make this necklace ready for your spring wardrobe. Plus the hammered plate says "hope" to represent the artisans who make the necklace. And spring is hope for a new season, a fresh start.
Why leave all of the brightening up to your wardrobe and living room? Add brightness to your kitchen with these sturdy, hand-woven kitchen towels.
These beautiful woven earrings come in a variety of eye-popping colors that seem to say "it's spring!" Plus you can find a bracelet to match.
Flowers are a beautiful part of creation, and have long been used to tell stories, to uplift, and to adorn. A handmade, daisy is perfect for accenting your home and sprucing up your table.
This light blue is reminiscent of a robin's egg and makes you feel ready for spring. It comes in a variety of other colors and made from golden grass, a sustainable source.
No matter your preference or what you're looking for, our fair trade shop has it. And just in time for spring.