Amanda Judge founded Andean Collection in the fall of 2008 after interviewing women in rural Ecuador about their survival strategies in the face of poverty. The project was intended to result in an academic paper that presented potential programs to reduce poverty in these areas. As it turned out, instead of just writing about these potential projects, she decided to turn her ideas into an employment generating social enterprise.
Amanda learned through the interviews that Ecuador has a long history of creating jewelry out of rainforest seeds. Her research also showed that opening the global market for jewelry made out of these natural materials would bring sustainable change to these communities in a way no non-profit organization alone could. Without a lucrative market to sell their jewelry, many artisans had to forgo meals to feed their children. They needed a better option.
This was motivation enough to develop a project that would bring employment to these communities. However, there was an added incentive. Amanda has a background in jewelry design, and she knew that the global market would fall in love with the look and feel of these natural materials, as she did. Using these local materials, the Andean Collection now creates inspired designs that fuse the urban with the rural, the natural with the modern.
While still on the first trip to Ecuador, Amanda began by finding artisans who had a drive to create a better life in their communities. After extensive business training, design workshops and teaching the artisans how to use email and even write on the Andean Collection blog, the artisans were excited to be a part of a new business.
Kelly Weinberger founded WorldFinds in 2000. She and her husband David Burns left their jobs in Chicago to spend 14 months traveling around the world. While in Asia, Kelly was struck by the talented artisans and concerned for their lack of income when tourism faded, and vowed to do something about it when she returned to the States. The remainder of the trip was spent learning about the plight of artisans and fair trade, and culminated in an all-important visit to Traid Aid, a fair trade company, in New Zealand.
Back in the States Kelly began to test products she had purchased and learned the ins and outs of importing while David got his MBA. WorldFinds soon became a member of the Fair Trade Federation and started ramping up the number of stores that sold their products.
World Finds WorldFinds was created with the purpose of doing something positive and tangible to improve thelives of low-income artisans in the developing world.
World Finds' socially and environmentally responsible products are sourced directly from disadvantaged women artisans in India, Nepal, and Indonesia. By following fair trade principles and practices, including forming long-term partnerships, World Finds ensures that positive changes are taking place in our artisans' families and communities.
Launched in 2007, the SUUBI (hope) project made its entrance into the city of Jinja, Uganda and eventually into the hearts and homes of many African women, their families, and thousands of others across the world. Before its creation, SUUBIfounders David & Morgan Hansow were living in Jinja overseeing the final steps in the adoption process of their little girl, Jadyn Suubi. During one of their many visits to the Ugandan baby home (orphanage), David and Morgan were introduced to Anaso Grace and Adong Santa who worked within the baby home and sold paper-beaded necklaces on the side. Grace and Santa, who would eventually become the pioneer women of SUUBI, introduced David & Morgan to the other 60+ women who met each Sunday beneath a jackfruit tree to make necklaces. After witnessing the group of women on a Sunday afternoon, a dream was sparked, and SUUBI was born.
What seemed like merely a response to a known talent and need, quickly grew into a community based organization filled with beautiful women- each with a story to tell and talent to express. Over the years,the number of women involved with SUUBI has doubled and is continually growing in women, creativity, and in lives shared.
31 Bits is a socially minded business designed to give internally displaced women in Northern Uganda an opportunity to counter poverty. By giving these women access to the international market, they are able to earn an instant income, providing homes, food, and education for their families. The 31 Bits program equips women by providing literacy education, financial and vocational training, holistic care, and strong support systems, empowering individuals to further their careers and attain social equity.
It was started by Kallie Dovel when she traveled to Uganda in the summer of 2007 to get a first-hand look at life in Northern Uganda. While she was there, she met women making paper beads but who lacked a plan to market and sell them. After spending time in their homes and hearing their stories, Kallie knew there had to be a way to give opportunities to her new friends. She brought a box of jewelry back to the U.S., and spent the next year finishing her degree and dreaming up the concept of a development organization. She brought a few friends on board and her ideas quickly evolved into 31 Bits. The girls traveled back to Uganda in August 2008, and selected six women to begin buying jewelry from on a monthly basis. Since then, we have grown to 115 women; each with a unique story of suffering that has been overcome with joy and liberation.
Nu Intentions empowers displaced women living in a refugee camp in Eastern Uganda through employment opportunities of jewelry creation, savings and budgeting training, entrepreneurship, leadership, teamwork, and discussions of women’s social issues. The young women in the group are all school dropouts, including widows and orphans due to AIDS, rebel armies, and witchcraft. The profits from their jewelry go towards their trainings, peace initiatives across conflicting borders, and overall development of the group. The more we empower this group of young women, the more they empower their own community.
This internally displaced persons (IDP) camp is called Kapelebyong. It is the oldest IDP camp in the nation and is located in the poorest sub-county of the poorest county in all of Uganda. This camp was created due to the insurgencies of the rebel tribes of the Karimojong, who are tribal cattle rustlers, and the guerilla Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). For over 60 years, the people in this camp have suffered attack after attack, stripping the land of its fertility and hope, and robbing the people of their families.
The organization started back in 2008 when Carrie Stewart and Ashleigh Livingston discovered they both had a desire to create jobs for struggling families in international economies. With Nu Intentions now in their third year of providing employment, they continue to empower the neglected and share their stories!