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Fair Trade Jewelry and Ethical Fashion

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Work That Brings Mothers Joy

by | Fashion as a Force for Good, Founders

Dolores & Dolores Guatemala Final

“The heartbeat of Trades of Hope began with a desire to help mothers keep their babies and care for their families well.”

 – Gretchen Huijskens, Trades of Hope Founder

(Read Time: 4 min.)

A Heart to Empower Mothers

The heartbeat of Trades of Hope began with a desire to help mothers keep their babies and care for their families well. We saw the need for women to have sustainable work the first time in Haiti.

Our purpose is to create a marketplace, so mothers have jobs to feed, shelter, and educate their children.

As this missional business has grown, so has our reach.

Mothers in Guatemala

In the spring of 2019, I was able to spend time in Guatemala. The women we work with have lived very different lives from mine. We each grew up with our own cultures, traditions, levels of education, and personal experiences.

There’s so much beauty in the landscape and people of Guatemala, but the reality is that all of these women have struggled to keep their families safe and fed in a way I cannot pretend to comprehend. They are strong women who have lived through war, but also have to still battle poverty.

Different Backgrounds

I grew up in a middle-class family from Michigan. I lived in a safe, loving home that never lacked for homemade meals nor opportunities for education. In short, we come from completely different sociological backgrounds. We are very different people, and yet…

At the core of our being, we have something powerful in common.

Most of us are mothers.

We love our children deeply. We all want our children to be healthy, happy, and have opportunities for the future.

Maria is the woman on my right in the photo. As she strung beads, she shared that she did have a job weeding in the farmer’s fields like so many others in her country. Unfortunately, the pay wasn’t a living wage and only helped them survive day to day.

Empowered to Take Action

Now, working with the artisan group, she can save for the future. Her son was recently ill, and she was so relieved she had money saved for the doctor’s visit and the necessary medication. She could do more than pray he would get better. She was empowered and also able to take action.

Maria is so grateful to be using a skill her grandmother taught her to provide for her family. Her life and her family’s lives now are better because she is paid well for the goods she creates. There’s less worry and more joy.

A Common Thread

I have been able to talk with our Artisans in other countries such as Peru, Uganda, Kenya and Cambodia. There is always a common thread. We as mothers love our children and want them to thrive. We all want our babies to grow up to be happy, healthy adults.

We as mothers love our children and want them to thrive. We all want our babies to grow up to be happy, healthy adults.

As different as we are, we, as Artisans, Compassionate Entrepreneurs (Partners), and mothers have a common desire that unites and brings us together in this missional business of Trades of Hope. I love that we offer opportunities for women to care for their children well and bring joy to more women around the world.

“Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who pour love, care and support into other people in your life!” – Gretchen

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TRADES OF HOPE!

Originally published April 16, 2019.

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1 Comment

  1. Joann

    Such a sweet, sweet blog post. Never once did I think my daughter would not grow up happy and healthy. To know that we are working towards this goal for other women who would not have thought the same way is such a blessing and a privilege

    Reply

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Gretchen Huijskens

Gretchen Huijskens

Founder and CEO of Trades of Hope, Gretchen is passionate about helping mothers keep their children and for an end to modern day slavery.

Kindred

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1. similar in kind; related
2. a blog by Trades of Hope

Trades of Hope is an ethical fashion and lifestyle brand that helps women around the world escape poverty and trafficking through our fair trade designs. Learn how you can partner with Artisans around the world here.