It’s been a hot summer, and after a long day, nothing can beat the feeling of drinking a cold glass of water. And when we get that water straight from our kitchen sinks, we often don’t think about how privileged we are. Water is a very basic necessity, yet many people around the world don’t have access to safe water, and they face limitations because of this.
August is National Water Quality Month, and it is the perfect time to make some changes to how you think about water.
More than 10 percent of the world’s population can’t drink water from their pipes, and this issue affects more than just health and sanitation. When clean water is unavailable, family dynamics are impacted. Since women are usually the ones in charge of collecting water, they have to spend extra time each day walking to a drinkable water source, which can sometimes be miles away. This means the women can’t work for pay, families can’t afford to send their children to school, and a cycle of poverty continues for generations.
This is a problem in many countries, states, and villages around the world. One of these states is Bihar, India.
In Bihar, India, where there is a women empowerment measure of .379, ranking among the top ten worst in the world, women and children spend hours daily walking miles to gather just enough water to live off of.
But Jesus’ Economy is working to change that. Jesus’ Economy has funded the drilling of four water wells in Bihar, providing 7,100 people with access to clean, safe water. Every dollar donated to this program funds the building, upkeep, and safety of the wells.
However, it doesn’t end with clean water. Following the funding of the wells, Jesus’ Economy is also working to empower women through literacy programs, business training, offering microloans, and planting churches.
Lives are changed for the better when clean water becomes available around the world.
This month consider becoming part of the movement to provide the basic necessity of clean water to people all over the world, which will also help families lift themselves out of poverty. Clean water can change the world.
Today is the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, a day dedicated to renewing the fight against human trafficking. Research estimates that about 25 million people are currently enslaved for either labor or sexual exploitation.
While many factors influence human trafficking, and the fight to end it requires difficult, impassioned work, one of the biggest things we can do to work against and prevent human trafficking is to fight against poverty. Most of the people who are trafficked come from impoverished communities, and this makes trafficking harder to stop because of a lack of resources, attention, and power. People with less financial stability are easier to exploit, and the trafficking industry has taken this into account.
Most of us are not human rights lawyers, and we aren’t in politics or law enforcement. Ending human trafficking isn’t something we can directly instigate. But fighting poverty, for most of us, is easy and we should be doing all we can to help lift our brothers and sisters around the world into more hopeful circumstances.
We can combat poverty in a lot of small ways as we go about our day, but one of the simplest things we can do is to shop responsibly through organizations we trust. We all have things we need to live, and we all have things we want, and every one of these items can be bought ethically if we take the time to look.
If you’re looking for an organization that promotes fair trade, take a look at our Fair Trade Shop. Jesus’ Economy is fighting poverty around the world through our partnerships with many fair trade artisan groups, through our project to Renew Bihar, India, and you can join us to make a change.
Fair trade is amazing and here are just a few reasons why:
But the most important thing is that fair trade improves lives around the world.
When artisans are able to make and sell their products for a fair wage, they have a better chance of providing for themselves and their futures. Fair trade artisans are able to lift themselves out of poverty, which lowers their risk of being involved in trafficking. They are empowered to resist a cycle of fear and begin a cycle of hope.
Human trafficking is a complex evil, and buying fair trade will not eliminate it. But we can do something to fight against it, and if we can do something, we should. We should be compassionate and use our resources and privileges to promote justice.
“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause” (Isaiah 1:16-17, ESV).
Our God is a God of justice, and human trafficking is severely unjust. As believers searching out God’s will, let us seek justice for those oppressed by human trafficking in any way we can.
In Terrier Rouge, a small farming community in northern Haiti, a group of teenage girls meets to make greeting cards. These cards are sold for fair wages, and the girls are able to save money for education and pursuing their dreams through their partnership with Woven Grace, a partner of Jesus’ Economy.
The Terrier Rouge Teens attend St. Barthelemy on US scholarships, but if they want to pursue jobs or further education after graduation, they have no options. There are no jobs in Terrier Rouge and no means to seek employment in Cap-Haitien, which is almost an hour away. The Woven Grace Fair Trade program provides these girls with a way to earn an income, save money for the future, and pursue their dreams.
Now, with the money they earn selling cards, these ladies have the opportunity to save money for the chance to break the cycle of poverty and give themselves a more hopeful future.
Thousands of people in Haiti live in poverty making it near impossible for families to earn enough money to break through the system. These people are suffering and many children end up on the streets to fend for themselves. But Woven Grace, a new partner of Jesus’ Economy, is working to change that through the Streethearts' Safe House.
The young men of the Streethearts' Safe House in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, were once living on the street, using drugs, prostitution, stealing, and any other means possible to get food and shelter. Streethearts offers them a safe place to live, receive education to meet their learning levels, and develop the life skills needed to rise above extreme poverty.
Woven Grace has introduced the journal-making program at Streethearts as a way for these teens to learn business skills and start a pattern toward a better future. Next time you need a new journal, consider buying one from Streethearts and join their fight to exit poverty.
If you love vibrant colors and patterns that pop, here are some wonderful fair trade products just for you! These fair trade items are fun and exciting, but they also tell stories about hope for the artisans who made them. Fair trade businesses are a necessary source of income and stability for many artisans, and these businesses allow families to grow stronger and build toward breaking a cycle of poverty. So check out these gorgeous products, and when the amazing patterns catch your friends’ eyes, take a moment to talk about fair trade and how fair trade creates jobs and livelihood around the world.
To read more about how fair trade changes lives for the better, check out our blog posts featuring many of the amazing artisans we cooperate with!
We live in a fast-paced society, but that doesn’t mean we can’t shop responsibly for the things we need. Products made from plastics and other single-use resources are easy to come by, but products made with renewable and eco-friendly materials are available to you if you take the time to look. At JesusEconomy.org we have several beautiful and practical products that are made with renewable resources and these products are fairly traded—making them good for the earth, good for people, and good for the economy. Check out some of these amazing products instead of reaching for factory-made plastics.
A sturdy serving tray is a great thing to have when you’re entertaining guests, and if you need one, take a look at this banana leaf tray from Rwanda. It’s woven with locally-gathered banana leaves and stocks and the result is a long-lasting product that is all-natural, and the plants keep growing back.
This all-natural basket is created from sisal fibers woven over a core of forest grasses, and the color is created by a dye made from tea leaves. These baskets make beautiful decorations, centerpieces, and even organizers for your fruits and veggies.
Shopping for a new casserole carrier? This basket is a great option because it is made from 100% sweetgrass, which is a renewable resource that is also water resistant, making it easy for you to clean up spills.
Cotton scraps create a huge amount of waste worldwide, and this trivet makes an effort to minimize that waste. It is woven from recycled cotton fabric strips, giving extra cotton something to do rather than slowly decompose in a landfill.
Everyone uses cloths and towels, so why not use these? These durable cloth and towel sets are handwoven with 100% cotton and can be washed again and again as opposed to paper towels. Cotton can be replanted and re-harvested each year, making it a renewable resource.
Redecorating your library? You can’t go wrong with these stunning bookends (and they also make excellent gifts)! They are hand-carved out of a single piece of Jacaranda wood. The Jacaranda trees grow very quickly, and they grow even after they’ve been cut, so they are a great resource for wooden products.
This fun travel bag is perfect for an on-the-go lifestyle. The inside is made from waterproof nylon, and the outside is made from 100% cotton. This is a much better option than a plastic baggie because it cuts back on plastic waste!
Golden grass is as lovely as it is useful. In Brazil, golden grass is a protected resource, but it is also renewable. The grasses are strong and lightweight, making them perfect for jewelry. The stone in this bracelet is also a polished river stone gathered locally!
Products made from golden grass are an excellent choice because they are natural and eco-friendly. Another bonus is that golden grass is gentle on skin, which is great for those who have sensitivities to nickel.
If you’re trying to be more considerate of what you buy, who makes it, and where it comes from, shop fair trade!
Church planter, Rahul, brings a blessing in the form of a water well to a village in Bihar, India.
Hot summers proved to be a greater difficulty than most for this village because there was no water well available to the general public. The only water wells in the village were on private property belonging to the few wealthy people in the village. They wouldn’t let the poorer villagers come and use the wells without causing many problems.
So all the villagers who didn’t have private water wells had to walk hours for clean water, taking up most of their day just to get water. This “solution” wasn’t sustainable but they didn’t know what to do.
Rahul heard about the problems this village of 300 people was facing and arranged for them to apply for a water well to Transformation India Movement (TIM), Jesus’ Economy’s partner organization in Bihar, India. Shortly after applying, TIM granted their application and started the process of a water well.
They inaugurated the well in March with 50 people gathering to watch. During the inauguration, Rahul presented the gospel and explained the similarities between the clean water and Jesus, the Living Water.
Because of this, many people in the village heard the gospel for the first time and were eager to learn more about Jesus. This is exciting because the village is a new area that doesn’t have a church planter working with them yet. Now, Rahul can visit, tell them about the love of Jesus, and help provide a better life.
It seems like it was just the beginning of spring, but now summer is here and we’ve got all the fair trade products to fill your summer with fun. We’ve got everything from beach totes and summery jewelry to scarves for those chillier evenings and journals to record your favorite summer adventures. Find just what you need for you, and work on some birthday shopping for friends while you're at it!
Today is International Widows’ Day, established by the UN as a day dedicated to taking action against the injustices committed against widows worldwide. But it’s not just a day to have a meal with the widows you know or to make a donation to a cause you support. It’s a day to commit to taking care of widows and to changing the opportunities they have.
In many countries, widows are not treated fairly or kindly because of their status. While this is not the case for most widows in the United States, we should still be supporting the widows in our lives, and we can strive to make things better for widows who are mistreated, as we know God has called us to do.
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27).
You probably know a few widowed women, either personally or from your church. Start there. On International Widows’ Day, make a plan to support these women—not just for one day. Make sure they are being taken care of and do what you can to assist them spiritually, emotionally, and physically. You could do a Bible study together, volunteer together, or even provide meals for them. A lot of widows also need help with projects around their home because they might not have the time, money, skills, or resources to do it on their own. Just having an extra set of hands can be very helpful, so ask what is needed and do what you can.
There are also several ways you can get involved with programs to support widows worldwide. Here are a few great organizations:
“We are dedicated to providing support to grief-stricken young families in their time of deepest need. When a parent dies the financial burden can be huge. The LLF awards monetary grants to meet families’ emotional and financial short-term needs.”
“The Global Fund for Widows is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering widows and female heads of households to overcome poverty through skills-based training, job creation, and micro-finance.”
“Modern Widows Club is committed to being advocates to give widows a voice, enable and empower them to move forward and become vital members of society once again able to thrive.”
“GriefShare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone.”
Jesus’ Economy doesn’t have a program set up directly for widows, but we do have a program to empower women in Bihar, India. Through this program, several women will be trained to maintain their own businesses and therefore be able to provide for their families. The women in this program come from a variety of family backgrounds—some married, some single, and some widowed—but because of their businesses they will have a way to support themselves. If any of these women were to become widowed, they would have the resources they need to feed themselves and their families.
On International Widows’ Day, we should think about how we can support women around the world, whether they’re in our neighborhood or in a developing country. Take this day to be there for your friends who are widows, and think about how you can contribute to the welfare of widows worldwide not just today, but every day.
The Fourth of July is almost here, and we have some great red, white, and blue products to help you decorate and celebrate. Do you go all-out and dress up in festive colors? Choose from a selection of red, white, and blue jewelry. Throwing a barbecue? Check out some of our aprons. Going on a little trip? Take a look at our totes and bags. JesusEconomy.org has just what you need to make the holiday colorful!