In August my daughter and I took our first (and last!) cruise. I had heard from so many how awesome cruising is, so I used my free air travel points and found a half-price special on Royal Caribbean 4-day cruise in the Bahamas. While the staff and service was impeccable, it was our trip to Nassau that opened my eyes. I thought I had done enough research on Nassau, and chose to tour the island using a local taxi service that drove us around for 3 ½ hours. I knew about Haiti’s poverty from the mission trips friends and family members had taken, but all the information I had read about Nassau did NOT prepare me for the poverty there. While one half of the island is filled with gorgeous luxury hotels and giant vacation homes, the other half has small shacks where most Bahamians live.
We chose to NOT drive by Atlantis and also did NOT shop in the designer gift shops that are all within walking distance from the port. We ate conch at a local restaurant and tried to find locally crafted items to purchase to help locals. We found that most of the items being sold were factory made bracelets and bags from China. We purchased some conch shells sold out of a fisherman’s boat.
I came home with a heavy heart wanting to do more to help people get out of poverty. I knew I could save money by doing without things like the occasional manicure and shop more at Goodwill, but I wanted to do more than just donate money. A friend sold beautiful handmade jewelry made by women from around the world, so I started asking more questions. These items are made by small groups of artisans who are working their way out of poverty and desperate circumstances including slums, sweatshops, and the sex trade. They live all over the world: Haiti, Uganda, Guatemala, Costa Rica, India and Cambodia… even here in the United States! These women don’t want charity, they want opportunity! I made my first purchase in August and was DELIGHTED with the quality and beauty of my purchases!!
On September 11th I signed up to become a Compassionate Entrepreneur with Trades of Hope. I am not doing this to make money for myself. I am giving back ALL my commissions from Trades of Hope. The proceeds from my first Trades of Hope party went towards the travel expenses of a single Army mom so she can see her son graduate from Boot Camp.
My October commissions will go to Organization of Autism Research.
Click here to shop my Trades of Hope party to benefit autism research
My November commissions will be used to buy rice and beans for students in Haiti at Christmas. Click here to shop my Trades of Hope party for rice & beans for Haitian students
If you’ve looked at some of Trades of Hope’s items and are thinking to yourself, “Hey, I could have my own party just by purchasing Christmas gifts”, you CAN do that!! All you need to do is purchase at least $150 to start earning hostess awards — at $150 you’ll get $15 host dollars to spend and then you can also purchase one item at ½ off. If one of your friends or family members confirms another party, you’ll earn another ½ price item!! Just let me know below if you’d like more information. Your party will have a triple purpose: helping the artisans, helping autism research or Haitian students, and then helping you with holiday shopping!!