In 1998 our founder, Becca Stevens, opened a school in San Eduardo, Ecuador. This school was gifted the name of Anne Stevens, Becca’s mother, in honor of her memory.
As Thistle Farms grew, it became apparent to our organization that we could have a greater economic impact worldwide. Why put limits on economic justice and sustainable income? Our survivors exist in multitude, stretching to every last continent and country. With this global vision in mind, we started our accelerator programs. The goal; to launch globally so women can feel freedom locally.
As the program transformed from an idea to a concrete reality, Thistle Farms had the honor of presenting the opportunity to a group of women with a vision. Becca had been in conversation with the priest at Iglesia de San Eduardo about the possibility of founding a cooperative with the local women for years. This corroborative would be able to directly support not only the women but the local school, Escuela Anne Stevens, as well. The next step was to decide what trade to focus on. What could sustain and respect the beautiful Latin American culture whilst being desirable in our market? Many ideas were discussed and discarded. Then finally the women made a decision, and it was to sew.
The women of Sibimbe started making our healing oil bags in 2013, but as they have sharpened and perfected their trade they have been capable of expanding their product variety to Relaxing Eye Pillows as well. The corporative is comprised of five women, determined to make an income for their families. The introduction of this corporative has been transformative to the community of San Eduardo. The women can now be self-sustaining and expand to the U.S. markets that otherwise would be inaccessible. The women can now provide education for their children, and then grandchildren. The introduction of education and resource into a poverty-stricken community has a ripple effect that flows infinitely through generations.
Each Sibimbe product purchased is more than a material item, it is an education in a child’s future. It is hope for a single mother to sustain her family, and a beacon to escape a cycle of poverty in a deserving community. At Thistle Farms Global, we are proud to provide a fair wage to artisans around the world.