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Urumqi, China

Urumqi, China

Urumqi is a unique city.  Located in northwest China in Xinjiang, it has the largest population of minority cultures.  In 2004, I had an opportunity to spend a month there teaching English and I loved it.  People are friendly, food is delicious, beautiful lake in the mountains and also desert land with camels roaming.

There has been a lot of political tensions in the region in the recent years with rioting between the Han and Uyghur ethnic groups.  The situation is still tense as of today. There are people who are jailed for their beliefs that is not in line with the government.
The people in Xinjiang love arts and culture which should be celebrated. Their love for dance, music and their exquisite traditional costumes should be the sound we hear in the streets, not the sound of war.
We hope someday to partner up with fair trade artisans in Xinjiang as they have beautiful silk scarves, handmade bags and tapestries.
Daughters: Artisans from Cambodia

Daughters: Artisans from Cambodia

From a former victim: “I met a girl working in a Karaoke bar who offered me a job. The job involved sitting with customers and playing CDs for them to sing.  One customer asked me to go to a guesthouse with him, and I refused. But he had a gun which he pointed at me, and threatened to shoot my legs if I did not go, so I had no choice. The bar owner never intervened because this was a normal occurrence in these places, it happened all the time.

After that it was often like that, I had little choice about who I had to have sex with because they were wealthy or threatened me. I was filled with pain in my heart. It was so hard to bear.  There was nobody willing to help me and I cried alone every night with no one to care about me. I started to think I was crazy. I was often so depressed; I felt I had no worth or value and my life was cheap. I cannot describe the pain.

Since I came to work at Daughters, I feel I am living a different life, like I am a different person. I used to cry at night and be unable to sleep; now I still cry but then I pray to God and I feel peace and am able to sleep. I feel so much better in my life than before. At Daughters I find comfort and strength, the staff value me, I have close friends and I know many people here love me and care about me. And I can talk to people here if I feel bad. I feel loved”

Daughters recognizes the impact of sexual exploitation in Cambodia as an abuse of human rights. Daughters seeks to help victims find ways out of this situation and into a situation of safety, freedom and dignity, to find wholeness, and to become all that God created them to be.

Daughters is involved with empowering people to make changes to their own lives, within their own cultural and social contexts, promoting healthy decision making so that changes are internal, voluntary and sustainable rather than imposed.  The long-term aim is to achieve sustainable outcomes in making a real and lasting difference in the victim’s lives. Long-term success is defined as a client remaining out of the sex industry for the rest of her life, supporting herself through dignified, rewarding work, and raising her own family to have a better future.

All the products we carry from Daughters use organic cotton and handmade coconut shell buttons.  The bags are perfect for your tween or teen to carry their belongings:

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Lil’Soak Designs: Artisans from Davao, Philippines

Lil’Soak Designs: Artisans from Davao, Philippines

Lil’Soak Designs is a fair trade label working in Davao, Philippines with a local NGO providing local or in-house livelihood sewing projects to women in Davao, Philippines.  The area is primarily a squatter’s village with employment perpetually below 50%, this livelihood project gives hope to local artisans in the fight against poverty, drug abuse, and sectarian violence.  A percentage of every purchase goes back to the House of Jubillee, and supports health initiatives, feeding programs for school age children., and educational scholarships for local youth.

 Lil’ Soak Designs is passionate about change for good. We are partnering up with small groups of marginalized people to produce and create our designs. We love the art of craftsmanship and want to showcase that in our products. We believe that everyone is entitled to fair wages, regardless of their country or neighbourhood.  When we see injustice being done, we must do something.  We believe that no cause is too small if it is the one placed in front of you.  “Do unto others as you would have done to you”
It’s exciting but things are finally looking up as we are selling more nursing covers and developing new products.  It’s been a slow bumpy ride but we feel passionate about empowering the women in the sewing project.
Raven + Lily: Artisans from Ethiopia

Raven + Lily: Artisans from Ethiopia

From Amselet: Everyone has HIV/AIDS there so we are all the same. I used to beg on the mountain and I stayed there for the holy water. My life was very bad. Begging is like being dead. My husband was still working for the military and he started to help with the Entoto Project when they first came to the mountain. He introduced me to them. I am so thankful for the opportunity.

Amleset and her husband were able to move off Entoto Mountain and into the city in early 2011. They are both doing well and are thankful to be back in the city and not feel ashamed or discriminated against because of their disease. Your purchase from our Entoto jewelry collection has brought them a better life that would have otherwise been impossible. Thank you for your support.

Raven and Lily is a socially responsible brand dedicated to empowering women through design partnerships and sustainable economic opportunities.
In addition to creating sustainable economic opportunities for marginalized women, Raven + Lily is dedicated to returning proceeds to our partner communities to fund education, healthcare, and micro-loans. By purchasing R+L products, consumers are part of breaking the cycle of poverty and transforming the lives of women and families.
They make beautiful goods such as the Tigist necklace and my favourite leather cuff bracelet:
tigist model-1eden cuff-1