Gifts of Hope is an important link in the chain of empowering women out of poverty. It is the vehicle through which we give back through a percentage of profits of our product sales. Throughout the the year, Trades of Hope gives donations to organizations with a specific vision in mind: fighting for justice for women around the world. That is why, in addition to the work we are doing by creating sustainable businesses, we choose to use Gifts of Hope to contribute to the efforts of others.
Here is a little bit about the groups to which we have donated:
Seeds of Hope
Costa Rica is the #1 destination in Central America for sex tourism. It is estimated that at least 25% of tourists coming to Costa Rica are men coming in alone, most usually coming in to buy sex. While in Costa Rica, we heard a story of a mom sending her little girl down the road to pick up sugar from a male neighbor. The little girl went and found that it was not sugar she was picking up, but there was a much darker purpose for her mom sending her there. As we met many of these girls personally, it was heartbreaking to see their little faces and knowing that they had been subjected to such misery in order to put food in their baby brother’s mouth. To walk into a room with little girls that we knew had been trafficked, maybe even just the night before, broke our hearts. These girls deserved to be little girls, to play, and laugh, and sing, and dream.
Seeds of Hope is geared toward helping girls ages 12-17 escape sexual exploitation by offering classes and programs that offer hope, job training, and safety for these girls. Because of this program, these little girls can be little girls again, filled with dreams for their future. When asked what some of their dreams are, they replied with these answers:
“I dream that I could help end prosititution one day”
“I dream that I can learn English perfectly and to play the guitar.
“I dream to travel a lot to other countries and help many people in need."
"My biggest dream is to finish school.”
"My biggest dream is to wake up one day and hear my mother say I love you."
“My dream is to learn to value myself to be an example for my family and friends”
Sweet Water Girls Ranch
Another program we are so honored to partner with is the Sweetwater Girls Ranch in Minnesota. Sweet Water Girls Ranch is a nonprofit organization in MN that offers a faith-based safe house for girls who have been sexually exploited. Through therapy horses and counseling, this program helps rehabilitate these girls who have had their childhoods stolen from them.
Although it seems easier for us to imagine prostituiton on the streets of Calcutta or a brothel in Asia, the truth is that sex trafficking happens on a daily basis here in the United States.
The average age of a prostituted girl in Minnesota is 12-14! And research reveals that 213 girls are sold on average of five times a day for sex in Minnesota alone - never mind what goes on in other states as well. No little girl grows up dreaming of being enslaved in this horrific trade, and Sweetwater Ranch is dedicated to loving these beautiful girls as they heal. What a safe place to come to, a peaceful ranch full of people that love them, filled with animals and horses that aid in the process of healing. We are so honored to be a part of this safe home! And your sales this year made this donation possible!
Throughout the year, we receive inquiries from customers about the possibility of donating to Gifts of Hope. Although we appreciate those wanting to help, Trades of Hope is not a 501c3 and needs to stay a self-sustaining business so that we can continue to create sustainable jobs for our artisans. Therefore, Trades of Hope does not take financial contributions. Gifts of Hope is funded through a percentage of the profits made through product sales. The best way to help women out of poverty is to purchase Trades of Hope products, supporting the artisans in a dignified, sustainable way. Even if you do not want more product for yourself, purchasing gifts, hosting parties, and becoming a COMPASSIONATE ENTREPRENEUR supports the artisans and builds awareness. Thank you for partnering with Trades of Hope to offer opportunity to women around the world!
Business is the normal way that people rise out of poverty. If you know of a country that has become a first world country because of aid, let me know about it. Business, not aid, is what changes poverty."
- Poverty Cure