Empowering women through hope and opportunity is our goal. Since 1999 Threads of Hope has been fulfilling that goal, one woman at a time. We’ve learned that poverty is hard to leave behind. For ToH to support breaking the cycle of poverty it means we walk the long road of empowerment. Poverty alleviation takes time, trust, and unfailing commitment. The road out of poverty has hope as its guiding light, but it is fraught with hardships, surprises, and lessons to be learned. ToH has dedicated itself to staying the course until the goal is realized. We are delighted to share the stories and statistics of the progress that has occurred since 1999.
A Shantytown in Lima, Peru
Our signature project, working in a shantytown of Lima, began with seven women and grew to touch the lives of over 100 women within five years. The artisans have seen progress in every area of their lives. Self-esteem and courage in the face of hardship have grown; families have stabilized. Land has been purchased and/or homes built or upgraded by every woman in the artisan group. Each family has seen educational benefits from artisans training in new skills or supporting their children from primary all the way to higher education. We boast for these mothers as we share graduations from nursing and physiotherapy schools, chefs, graphic designs, tourism and mechanics certifications, a law school graduate and many other degrees and certificates in progress. Some artisans have launched small businesses: seamstress, cosmetologist, market stalls, computer café, and more. Healthcare needs are also being addressed as they move away from medical emergencies to preventive and proactive care. It has been our pleasure to document the progress each year, confirming that empowerment is transforming the lives of these remarkable women.
Highland Villages in the Andes Mountains
In 2013, ToH began work in the Andes Mountain regions. While poverty is the norm, rural poverty is gentler than urban poverty. In the countryside at least food can be grown, livestock raised, and there is access to potable water through springs and rivers. It is a pristine environment for children to grow. But, in that setting, there is less access to paying jobs. Therefore, the education system is weak and spotty and the healthcare system is inadequate. ToH is beginning to make a difference in these remote villages. Artisans are working more and The Hope Grant Fund has fulfilled communal projects that have educational benefits as well as empowerment of the artisans and their working conditions. Rain and shade shelters, school supplies, small livestock, and home needs have been common grant requests. ToH is new to this region and remains committed to learning and growing to meet the needs of the artisans we serve.
Threads of Hope has been unique in the marketplace since its inception. In 1999, it was a very new and different concept to buy and sell the handwork of global, indigenous artisans with an additional economic give back to alleviate poverty. ToH started in this unfamiliar niche of “ethical consumerism” and has grown exponentially since beginning this life-changing project. It became abundantly clear that buying and selling artisan created textiles of global crafters could alleviate poverty and dramatically transformed lives. Since 1999 Threads of Hope has expanded from one urban shantytown to encompass five rural villages and one community of disabled adults, returning $2.5M into these developing world economies and the artisan’s lives through textile purchases and the Hope Grant Fund.
The signature project of ToH was founded in 1999 in a shantytown on the outskirts of he bustling metropolitan city of Lima, Peru with seven artisans and a leader from a local Anglican church. Threads of Hope began buying the handmade textiles of these women with an initial goal of monthly orders so the artisans could have certainty and security in their financial lives. Within a year, monthly orders were routinely placed and in four short years the project had grown to include 28 artisans and 75 secondary producers. By 2009, the textiles were a complete sellout every year. The artisan’s lives, their children, and families have been consistently and positively impacted since 1999. Artisans have new found hope for the future, for themselves and their families. Homes are being built, medical needs met, small business and community projects enabled. Children, young and old, are receiving proper educations, graduating for trade schools and higher education. The reality of what has been seen is women and their families transformed from the darkness of poverty into the light of hope.
Threads of Hope has maintained a core value, since its inception, of remaining open to God’s possibilities. To that end, ToH began piloting multiple new works in the Andes Mountains, one of the poorest regions in Peru. The projects include outreach to remote villages where textiles artisans sew while carrying for children in the fields as they graze the livestock. ToH has worked to train some of these village groups to become functional businesses, and continued new exploration into an at-risk teen project. ToH proceeds carefully and deliberately to ensure cultural respect and appropriateness of our work. These new projects remain committed to the empowerment of women and poverty alleviation in the key areas of education, health care, housing, sustainable small business and/or community development.
Lake Titicaca Region
In 2015 further openness and exploration lead Threads of Hope to a small church in Juliaca, Peru to meet the self-named, “Chair People.” “Chair People” have no social services or safety net to support their life needs. Accessibility is unheard of and transportation only comes with luck. After two years of exploration and development, a pilot project was launched supporting a finger puppet project in this impoverished geographic area famous for knitting. Each small knit puppet has been designed to complete a set of five puppets for various story telling pleasure, from Noah and the Ark, The Three Little Kittens who Lost their Mittens, to impromptu stories of super heroes. ToH anticipates great success when the project launches its first public sales in late 2016 or early 2017.
Threads of Hope will continue to empower the women and communities we currently serve, staying open to the needs in developing world communities. Our goal is to grow our marketing capability and capacity in the U.S. to continue our strong tradition of empowering and giving back to those less fortunate. To that end, in 2017 we were fortunate to be given the pro bona supports of three marketing specialists to grow the Threads of Hope brand and expand our internet market.
“We dedicate the textiles with much love, caring, and a big strong hug for all. Even though you are far away, you are in our hearts.” – a ToH Artisan