As a homeschooling mom of five daughters, I have always been keenly aware of the privilege and freedom we have in our country to be able to choose the best way we see fit to educate our children.
This has been made much more evident to my children and me in the past year and a half since I have been a compassionate entrepreneur with Trades of Hope.
Trades of Hope is a biblically based, mission-minded company based in Palm Coast, Florida. The goal of Trades of Hope is to “empower women out of poverty.” A very large part of this empowerment involves not only making sure basic needs are met, but also ensuring educational opportunities that will impact generations to come are provided.
In so much of our world, school is not free as it is here in the United States. If parents in the developing areas we partner with in the countries of India, Uganda, Haiti and others can only afford to send one child to school, they will choose to educate a son who is seen as one day having the potential to earn enough to care for his parents and other family members.
Heartbreaking Conditions Women and Children Face
Trades of Hope actively partners with organizations that make sure girls in particular have equal opportunity for education. Trades of Hope strives to provide educational opportunities for all children of participating artisans by following fair trade practices that ensure that a fair living wage is paid and that medical, education and safe working condition standards are met.
The following are some of the sad statistics Trades of Hope is working to overcome:
- The average Guatemalan attends school for 5 1/2 years total. Around 70% of Guatemalan women are illiterate, and most leave school by the end of third grade.
- In India, 56% of the female population is illiterate.
- Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, and its people are “food insecure.” Approximately 3,000,000 live on less than $1 per day, and most lack opportunity for education. Their plight is demonstrated clearly in this news broadcast: “Dirt Cookies.”
These are choices none of us can even imagine making!
And there are many more statistics and stories like these for nearly all of the 15 countries with which Trades of Hope partners.
How Trades of Hope Makes a Difference
Our Trades of Hope message emphasizes the hope that is given are situations like these. Being the literal hands and feet of Jesus in helping meet the most basic needs of people in desperate and oppressive circumstances opens the door to the Gospel message being lived out and shared.
In Uganda, Trades of Hope partners with Amazima ministries to support a feeding program for 1,200 children as well as a program to help pay educational expenses.
The women of Guatemala are providing for their families, given the opportunity to attend school and learning basic principles that will help them move ahead in life. Young girls are receiving structured learning programs full of practical skills that enable them to become self-reliant and financially independent. These incredible artisans are treated with respect and are taught that they and their dreams have much value. We help create and sustain jobs, changing generations to come in Guatemala!
Trades of Hope is excited to partner with multiple groups all over India, groups that are committed to empowering women with a fair wage and a voice. Women are given the chance to work from home while they take care of their families. Not only do these groups provide their artisans education for their children, but many also receive health care and financial assistance.
These groups are also committed to providing hope for those facing extreme discrimination as a result of their caste system. Those experiencing excommunication from their communities due to leprosy are given dignity and hope. They receive health care and a way to support themselves in a positive environment. These artisan groups offer the gift of sustainable business that not only affects one person, but also whole communities for generations to come! A look at how impactful this can be is here in a PBS documentary.
In Haiti, the Apparent Project and Papillon Enterprises allow artisans to have their children in a safe on-site child care facility while their parents create beautiful hand-crafted products nearby. This year, Trades of Hope is funding a primary school to be started for these artisan’s children as well.
Trades of Hope Is Doing It Right Here, Too!
Trades of Hope also has a unique partnership with adults with disabilities right here at home at our distribution center in Kissimmee, Florida. We partner here with the Opportunity Center, where we are told these differently abled adults enjoy learning about the various countries and artisan groups of the products they package and ship for us and are excited to be a part of such meaningful and fulfilling work.
Exploring this global worldview with my own children has been eye-opening and heart-expanding. We feel like we are on mission together every day from right here at home, learning about the needs we are helping to overcome in each of our artisans’ lives. Our daughters realize these children are just like them in many ways and want to give them the same opportunities and freedom that we enjoy in our country.
If you would like more information on Trades of Hope or any of our artisan groups, please feel free to contact me or see more at my Trades of Hope site mytradesofhope.com/karenredmond
In His ever present hope,
Karen Redmond, Trades of Hope Compassionate Entrepreneur