I’ll be honest. I don’t enjoy going shopping on a regular ol’ day. I much prefer using “me” time to read a novel with a cup of coffee. And so Black Friday? Yeah….I don’t leave my house. We usually snuggle in with some hot cocoa and Thanksgiving leftovers. I have no problem opting out of the shopping madness on Thanksgiving weekend.
If you have Christmas shopping to do today, consider an alternative to braving the crowds at the mall. Consider finding gifts that support a wonderful cause: Connected in Hope. This is not a sponsored post. This is an organization that grabbed my attention because of the way it empowers women. And I figure my readers care about that, too.
I’m going to let Connected in Hope cofounder Ryan Murnane share some of her story about this amazing organization. So here it is:
My family and I founded Connected in Hope following the adoption of my younger son, Joseph, from Ethiopia in 2009. We completely fell in love with the country and the wonderful people we met and wanted to, in some way, give back. While we love adoption (of course!) we also know that it is not the only answer and that poverty should never be the sole reason why birth mamas feel they must relinquish their children.
We truly believe that the key to sustainable change in places like Ethiopia comes through empowering women and educating kids. We have a fair trade, social enterprise model offering income development programs in addition to a wide range of holistic services for the women and their families. We partner with (and fully fund and support) the Former Women Fuel Wood Carriers Association, a group of 70 women artisans who were once fuel wood carriers and are now weaving beautiful scarves and baskets. Prior to weaving the women were working as fuel wood collector a, sadly, common line of work for poor, under educated women.
Our goal at Connected in Hope is to empower these women to lift their families out of extreme poverty through sustainable income development. We train and employ vulnerable women to create high quality products (scarves and leather products) that are marketed here in the United States. We pay the women up front for the products and then re-invest 100% of the profits back into programs that benefit the women, their families, and the community.
In addition to our income generation programs we operate a preschool and kindergarten serving 60 children ages 3-6 and an after school program serving 16 more. Our school offers a combination of traditional academics and exploration in art, music, drama and dance. Again, our children come from the very poor area of Shiro Meda, so would not typically have access to this type of education. We have a full time social worker on staff who meets regularly with families in their homes to assess needs and encourage involvement.
We also offer adult education programs like English classes, budgeting and savings training, and community education programs on topics like nutrition, child development, etc.
All of our scarves bear the name of one of the women who worked on production. Buyers are able to visit our site, read her story and see how their purchase is truly making a difference in her life. They can even leave her a note of thanks or encouragement on the site.
Having full time staff working on the ground day in and day out with the women is a wonderful bonus too. We are able to provide a level of transparency and connection that isn’t available in traditional buying situations. We are able to share photos and updates with our buyers so that they can continue to follow “their” weaver’s progress long after the initial purchase was made.
OK, Haley jumping in here. The scarves are absolutely gorgeous (I particularly love these ones) but I have to admit that I’m even more intrigued by the new line of leather totes.
I’m putting one on my Christmas list!
Connected in Hope has graciously offered to giveaway one of their beautiful scarves (winner’s choice) to a Carrots reader. AND offering Carrots readers a 10% off coupon code for all their scarves: CARROTS10
Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway! (U.S. entries only, please.) Giveaway ends midnight EST, December 3rd.
What a great idea!!
I would choose the scarf that’s white with gray/taupe/cayenne stripes.
I love the Bethlehem collection too, especially the raspberry. 🙂
Elizabeth Smillie says
Bethlehem in teal (or blue)!
I like the Bole collection
I love anything from the bethlehem collection, and LOVE the new totes! I am going to do some christmas shopping!
What a wonderful organization! My favorite scarf is the blueberry in the Bole collection.
I do love the leather bags! For scarves, that gray with raspberry is lovely.
Tesfa marigold blueberry… Beautiful!
Nancy Wang says
I think I’d like the Bethlehem blueberry scarf. Thank for letting us know about this lovely organization.
I think I like the Tesfa collection – the lilac and orchid one is so pretty!
I used to love Black Friday. I don’t anymore. I hate everything it represents – greed and obsession over THINGS. I’d rather obsess over preparing for Advent! 😉
I am officially madly in love with these! I love the Tesfa marigold/blueberry one and the Addis cayenne/gray/taupe scarf. I actually just ordered an infinity scarf (which I love, too) for the mother in law for Christmas! Awesome company, thanks for introducing it to me!
What a wonderful organization! We adopted from Ghana several years ago. Can’t wait to support this great organization!
Kathy Biallas says
I’m digging all the purple offerings. The ombré is the most attractive.
Regina Scheffing says
What a wonderful organization! The scarfs are beautiful
Jenn @ Vita Carminis says
I love the infinity scarf. That’s such a fun look!
The blueberry in the Bethlehem collection- lovely!
I love the gray/raspberry Bethlehem scarf. What beautiful fabrics! What beautiful women!
Mia Sampietro says
The Tesfa in Marigold and Blue is so gorgeous!
Also, I want to tell you how absolutely much I love you and your family. You are such an inspiration and beacon of spirituality for young Catholics (especially couples) everywhere. My best friend Hannah and I are always texting each other saying, “Did you read the Carrots for Michaelmas post today?!” We’re a bit obsessed. 😉 Your caption for this blog on facebook was especially helpful to me because I tend to get ahead of myself and worry about my future married life. Posts like this assure me of the *right* way to celebrate holidays, that I’m not being unrealistic to want this kind of spiritual, non-consumerist life for my children.
Also, in case other readers see this comment and might be looking into charities: UNBOUND is one of the most incredible organizations I have ever encountered. I sponsor an elderly woman in Nicaragua, and I like to say that it’s worth $35 a month to have someone pray for you 24/7. 😉 I got the chance to go on a mission awareness trip this summer to meet her, and let me tell you: your money is NOT going to waste! 94% of your donation goes directly to the family you sponsor and their needs. Their work is absolutely incredible. It’s worth checking out. 🙂
I love the fun Abeba scarf! But all of their stuff is gorgeous. 🙂 Thanks so much for this lovely post. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and love the way you write, and this is such a lovely cause to support.
I love the blue scarfs they are such a beautiful shade.
I love this! Thank you for sharing
Laura T says
I like the lilac/orchid from the tesfa collection.
The grey and teal from the Bethlehem collection is beautiful!
Thank you so much for sharing this! I love opportunities to support Fair Trade! In case people are looking, a couple of other great web sites are http://www.noondaycollection.com/ and http://fairtradefriday.club/ The second one is really awesome because for just about $32.oo per month, you get a box each month with a few fair trade items in it. The Noonsday Collection has BEAUTIFUL accessories. I especially love their necklaces and am hoping to maybe get one for Christmas 🙂
They are all beautiful! I love the Addis and Bethlehem…any color!
Jamie P says
I would pick the Lilac/Orchid Tesfa. I ordered a child’s scarf for my goddaughter and another one for my best friend! Thanks for bringing this organization to my attention. 🙂
I like the Bethlehem grey/teal scarf!
I love the Addis Collection, particularly the Grey/Taupe/Orchid scarf!
Mary Neno says
The Bole collection is my favorite.
What a wonderful organization! God bless you!
Ruth Anne says
Really like the Bole in teal
Andrea Enright says
Such beautiful scarves. I’m really trying to buy all my Christmas gifts this year from local, independent stores and companies that give back, and Connected in Hope fits the bill! Reminds me of another organization I love, Nomi Network.
Love the Tesfsa collection!
These are so lovely! I was hoping to find some that looked like the ones in the third picture you have posted (they look stripey?) but my close second favs are the Bole in Raspberry and the Addis in either blueberry or teal. 🙂
I’d choose the Infinity Scarf. Love it!
Jaime Kapur says
I love the Bole collection raspberry or bluberry ones!
I really like the Tesfa Marigold/Blueberry scarf or the Addis White/Grey/Taupe/ Cayenne scarf. Although after looking through the website, I am loving the leather bags for sure! These women make beautiful things.
I like the blueberry/ merigold scarf. I wish I could weave like these women!
Rachel Anna says
I like the Bole in teal!
Bethlehem in Teal– love!
Heather M says
I love the Bethlehem scarf in blueberry!
Alicia Copley says
Oh, they have so many great ones! I think my faves are the blueberry or teal in Addis collection or the black/grey plaid in Selam collection.
Hannah Jasmine says
Love the Cayenne Addis!
Oh, thanks for sharing this, Haley. Truly important work this organization is doing. The scarves are very beautiful, too. I particularly love the Tesfa Collection.
I’d pick the lilac infinity scarf! Thanks!
I’d love the Bethlehem in teal!
Lynne M says
These are amazingly beautiful. thank you for passing this site along. I am ordering some for Christmas presents!
I’d have a hard time deciding on either the black/grey plaid or the color block scarf. So pretty!
Becky S. says
Think I found a good Christmas idea thanks to you! 😉 I love the Orchid one from the Bole Collection. So pretty!
I love this!! I’ve always been a huge fan of fair trade. I would pick the bethlehem in teal or the Addis in white/grey/teal. Such a tough choice!
I love the Bethlehem gray with raspberry! Also, another awesome organization that empowers women who were previously lured into prostitution in Asia is the Starfish Project. They have really beautiful and affordable jewelry.
These scarves are beautiful! I love the idea of supporting other women and giving them more time to spend with their children.
I love the Bethlehem blueberry scarf!! What a great organization – thanks for sharing this!!
I’d choose anything teal but especially the gray and teal from the Bethlehem collection.
I love the Bethelem collection!
Hannah H. says
I think I would choose the Bethlehem in teal. Love a cause like this. We are in the process of adopting from Ethiopia right now. All of the scarves are beautiful! Might have to do some Christmas shopping. =)
Definitely the Bethlehem scarf in teal. Beautiful scarves. Beautiful cause.
Great cause, beautiful products.
I don’t know which colors I like best but the Bethlehem and Selam scarves are both lovely.
The Raspberry Bethlehem scarf is just amazing!
Laura M. says
They are all beautiful scarves! I would pick the grey with teal from the Bethlehem collection.
Haley, Thank you so much for your inspiration. My life is full of contradictions, but I am really committed to working toward making our Christmas gifts meaningful this year by way of selecting fair trade/local gifts as much as possible. This post came to my attention as I was beginning to search for the perfect gift for my SIL (who had asked for an infinity scarf). I knew it was meant to be.