How your Shared Trade Gifts Give Back

December 16, 2015

Your purchases this holiday season make an impact in the lives of women artisans around the world. One of our partners, Anchal Project, shared the following story from one of their artisans, Nazia. Anchal Project is a nonprofit social enterprise that addresses the exploitation in India using design thinking to create employment, opportunities, services, and products that support empowerment. See a collection of their beautiful one of a kind, hand stitched quilts made from recycled saris here.  

"We work really hard to make stuff that people like. When people buy our products it means that we can clothe, feed & educate our children." - Nazia

Nazia

In a 2012 trip to India, we asked several of the artisans enrolled in our program what differences Anchal has allowed them to make in their lives. Since the inception of Anchal in 2010, artisans have experienced dramatic changes—Shakuntela invested her new income in her daughter Parthi’s private education, Nita moved out of the slums into a home of her own where she is no-longer stigmatized for her previous life as a sex-worker and Nafisa became a leader in her community. When we asked Nazia, a twenty-year-old woman with a six-year-old son who was recently abandoned by her husband and struggling to support both her son and sick mother, she responded both simply & frankly: She could now buy fruit for her son. Prior to Anchal, fruit was an unaffordable luxury. Nazia would carefully navigate around the fruit aisle at the local market so that her son wouldn’t be tempted by what she couldn’t give him.

Nazia + Son

Hearing Nazia’s tale was a raw, honest, and above all, humbling moment. Our prior perceptions on change were contingent solely on materialistic, economic changes in the lives of women. What Nazia’s sense of accomplishment taught us, is that the change in day-to-day life can encompass the difference in perception of what constitutes poverty. Sometimes the seemingly smallest changes reveal the biggest impact. In our 2015 trip to India, we sat down with Nazia again, who has since become a project assistant, and asked her the same question. She now pays for her son’s education and a private tutor 2 times weekly. She sits in on the lessons & learns alongside him so that she can answer any questions that he may need help with. Her dream is to facilitate the environment & provide him with the opportunities he needs to fulfill his own dreams. To witness Nazia, who once struggled to provide food – the most basic need – support her son’s private education & elevate her family from entrenched poverty is the heart of what our program is about.



Also in Community Blog

While the Cafe renovates, Donna reminds us to Come Together

March 16, 2017

Donna Dozier, one of the Café’s passionate staff, shares what will make the Cafe feel like home. The Café is undergoing a massive renovation that will allow us to gather more comfortably but with the same hospitality of coming home. During renovations, some of the Café staff have been honing their skills at a variety of local businesses.
Read More
Magdalene on the Inside: A chance to be someone new.

February 14, 2017

Magdalene on the Inside is a program of Thistle Farms that supports incarcerated women through informed care, encouragement towards healing, and a structured place to live after their release. Magdalene on the Inside began in December 2013 at Tennessee Women’s Prison under the leadership of Sheila McClain, a Thistle Farms graduate and survivor-leader.
Read More
From a Father to a Daughter: Love Heals Families, One Day at a Time

January 19, 2017

Love heals women, one day at a time; and, love heals family relationships, one day at a time.Thistle Farms​ ​is the miracle that​ ​my daughter​ ​Rachel needed coming out of prison having lost everything in her life. The miracle she needed provided a safe place for recovery from almost 20 years of substance abuse and addiction​ ​-- years of treatment, recovery and relapse.

Read More