Valentine’s day is this week so pass this post on to your husbands or boyfriends or treat yourself! I want to share with you 2 of my very favorite Fair Trade vendors. I believe the greatest form of aid we can offer to the developing world is to equip and enable women to provide for their families. As I was in Haiti meeting Fee Fee, my popcorn making friend. I saw her take such pride in her work and in telling her story… sharing with me that she and her husband pay for their children’s school. And everything here is so cool- it is zero sacrifice- trust me!
Flora and Mona…..two women who have overcome insurmountable odds. Both are moms, both fled persecution in the Sudan with their children, both lived through much pain and suffering. Both came to America, finally free, yet trapped by a new enemy – poverty.
One is a Christian. One is a Muslim.
And now they work side-by-side at Open Arms.
Open Arms is a social enterprise based in Austin whose mission is to employ refugee survivors resettled here at a living wage. This virtually invisible population often falls into the trap of poverty, without even realizing it. Most women come here widowed, with children, and end up in minimum wage jobs. Imagine surviving through countless atrocities, then to arrive here where you don’t understand the culture, the language, or even how a light switch works…..
This Valentine’s Story focuses on the forgiveness, reconciliation and love occurring every day at Open Arms. It’s all about RED: the symbol of love and death, courage and vitality. A symbol of the hope and courage it takes to keep moving forward….
Open Arms hopes this scarf will be a symbol of hope and a symbol of LOVE, conquering all.
Noonday – This is my dear friend in Austin, Jessica Honegger. She began selling fair-trade locally made goods from around the world in order to advocate for orphans. The resources have funded hundreds of adoptions and several friends are now ambassadors working for Noonday. Listen to our podcast here.