Hope For Her Continued

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History of the Hope Bags

Celebration of Hope 2012 focused on Hope for Her.  And what better way to create Hope for Her than pay the women in the highlands of Guatemala a fair wage for their expert weaving.  This suggestion excited Willow member Deborah DaSilva, who is no stranger to the beautiful patterns indigenous to that Mayan region.  DaSilva formerly lived in Guatemala, working as a United Nations peace observer during the civil war. Several Compassion and Justice staff members and volunteers wondered if the ladies of the highlands could make the bags, as a sample Hope Bag made its way to Guatemala to find out. The result exceeded Willow’s expectations. Not only did the women weave beautiful, high-quality bags, they recreated bags nearly identical to the sample they were provided. Though the weave was not a local pattern, the women loved the challenge and found someone to teach them the foreign pattern so that they could reproduce it. The result was the colorful Hope Bags distributed during Celebration of Hope.

Hope for Her in Guatemala

DaSilva travels to Guatemala about three times a year. During her last trip, she visited a weaver who lives in a home made out of corn stalks. The woman, a widow, owns no land and must work in someone else’s field during the harvest season. Because of rain, the harvest season lasts only three months, and it can be hard to find work. Accustomed to being exploited for any goods she does sell, the woman was thankful to be paid a fair wage for the Hope Bags by Willow. Referring to her as a modern-day Ruth, DaSilva says that the woman grabbed her arm and asked if there would be more work for them.  “I hope so,” DaSilva replied, knowing she needed to do something.

From Hope Bags to Bracelets

As a manufacturer of hair products like bows and headbands, DaSilva knows accessories. And she knows about being a Christian business owner. Fronting the money, she placed an order with the weavers for 2,500 bracelets. DaSilva’s dream is to “empower young people” like students in Student Impact and Elevate to make change for the poorest of the poor by selling the bracelets, a marketing technique used by Girl Scouts when they sell cookies. DaSilva knows that “kids and teens want to be involved too; they don’t just want to watch their parents get involved.  The bracelets are something they can take viral, through friendships and social media.” Selling or sharing bracelets is well within their reach and can make a difference in the lives of women like Ruth,” DaSilva says.

Convinced that bracelets are only a “tiny piece of the puzzle,” DaSilva has already tapped into a large pool of talent at the North Shore campus to cast a vision for future products.  And it continues the hope for more than 100 Guatemalan women.

Bracelets are available for purchase ($3 each) at the Compassion & Justice Cart at the North Shore Campus, or by contacting Deborah at deborah.dasilva@gmail.com

Category : Celebration of Hope, Global Connections, Uncategorized

Comments

What a wonderful story.
And, I love my hope bag.

In college I used a pretty floral make-up bag as a small purse. It was small enough to carry basic essentials, but too large 🙂

I wonder if the hope bags wouldn’t be perfect for such a use.

And, it would be so special to see the local town’s patterns shown in their own huipils!

Blessings

Yes, I would love to see patterns that are unique to each of the weavers.

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