A look at The Shine Project, a non-profit providing scholarships to inner-city youth, and a selection of their fabulous jewelry that supports the cause.
Wintertime means a wardrobe of warm hats, gloves, scarves and sweaters, so why don't you share the warmth by giving a hand knit or crocheted item from Krochet Kids International? This non-profit organization hires women from Northern Uganda and Peru, teaching them to crochet and weave, employing them to make the items that they sell in their stores, and using the profits from these sales to educate, mentor, and empower a generation of women.
Krochet Kids was founded by three guys who loved winter sports and learned to crochet so they could have an endless supply of unique hats on the mountain. Their unique hobby attracted attention from their peers, and soon they were taking custom orders and selling their wares to help pay for prom.
Fast forward a few years, and these young entrepreneurs are spread to three different colleges, but each having experiences that broadened their global awareness and understanding of the cycle of poverty. As they traveled abroad and learned the heartbreaking stories of the poor and realized how fortunate they'd been growing up, they felt compelled to do something. With the encouragement of family and a little ingenuity, they found themselves together in northern Uganda with a bag of yarn, crochet needles and a group of local women and they began teaching them how to crochet and sell their goods as a pathway to independence. Krochet Kids was born and has since expanded its reach into Peru, helping to empower women on two continents through the opportunity for dignified work, teaching skills for advancement, and mentoring women on their path to independence. Here's a video that explains more the vision and mission of Krochet Kids:
When you purchase crochet and knit items from Krochet Kids International, you are directly investing in these artisans, supporting their work and their futures. Your beautifully hand-made item will come with a tag inside, signed by the woman that created it. What a thoughtful and impactful gift to give this season!
Here are a few of our favorite things, but there are so many beautiful items to choose from! Click over and visit their shop today!
Simple. Elegant. Sustainable. Those words describe the jewelry of Hands Producing Hope and their mission.
Founder Rebecca Gardner encountered the Guaymi people of Coast Rica and felt drawn to their story. Marginalized, discriminated against and ostracized, the Guaymi people frequently live on reservations with little hope for the future. Rebecca and an in-country family of missionaries started Hands Producing Hope with the idea that "all people (regardless of gender, ethnicity, or geographical location) be afforded opportunities to have dignified and respectable work, and to provide for their families and flourish in their communities."
Now, Hands Producing Hope is operating in two countries: Costa Rica and Rwanda. They hire and pay artisans above-living-wages to create the jewelry products, frequently using indigenous seeds or natural elements in the jewelry. The artisans and their families are welcomed into the HPH community, which teaches them life skills, provides educational and training opportunities for future advancement, and are taught about the incredible love that Jesus has for them. Hands Producing Hope involves the larger community to be a part of their mission, and as relationships are formed between the Guaymi people and the surrounding communities, small steps are being made toward racial reconciliation.
Here's a great video depicting their work and how it began:
This Christmas, give the gift of beautiful, sustainably-made jewelry that will empower a woman and help her find dignified work. There are so many elegant options to choose from, here are a few of our favorites:
I know what you're thinking: socks for Christmas? Seriously? But when they're this fun, fashionable and functional, how can you resist? Cool funky patterns, bright colors and hi-tech basics for athletic performance, these socks aren't your ordinary box-store footwear.
Mitscoots gear is manufactured in the USA in plants located in Texas, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York and California, then packaged in a facility in Austin, Texas that employs transitioning homeless, giving valuable jobs to those that need them most. And every time you make a purchase, a similar, high-quality item will be given to the homeless, to help them stay warm and healthy on the streets.
Mitscoots was founded in 2012 by Tim Scott and his wife, Agata. In their volunteer work with the homeless community, one of the most frequent requests was for socks and other gear, like hats and gloves. As Tim developed his business plan, he knew that providing quality gear to the homeless community would be a cornerstone of his business model. But Tim wasn't content to just give handouts of free gear--he knew that this was just a temporary fix, as even the most high-quality gear would eventually wear out. "Top-down charities are all about people receiving. There's no 'Let's do this together.' Restoring dignity is missing."
One day, he had an epiphany, though: the socks would require packaging, sizing stickers and branding, and that's when Tim decided to hire the homeless to do the work. Mitscoots provides part-time employment that instills a sense of pride and dignity in those that are looking to work, but are frequently unable to secure employment because of their living situation. It helps to bridge the gap between shelter and street living to full-time employment. Mitscoots also partners with a variety of local nonprofits to make a holistic impact in the Austin homeless community. This approach allows them to meet the immediate needs of the homeless, provide a pathway to independence in the future, and engage the American workforce in creating a quality product for the consumer--it's a win-win-win-win.
Whether your recipients' taste in socks is purely functional or runs more to the fanciful, you're sure to find a product to delight them. What a great stocking stuffer to give this holiday!