When someone strikes you from the very first moment as an individual with grace, class and style, she is the type of person you want to get to know better. She is someone who draws you in. She connects with you.
That is how I felt from the very first moment I heard from Ryane Murnane. Ryane is one of the founders of the Connected in Hope Foundation, a nonprofit organization that grew out of a “deep love and respect for the people of Ethiopia and a compelling desire to give back to the beautiful land and its people.”
After taking several trips to Ethiopia, she saw firsthand how women fuel wood carriers are burdened the job of with transporting enormous bundles of eucalyptus branches weighing up to 80 pounds by foot for up to 18 miles. The women are then faced with the pressure of selling their bundles at the market to provide food and shelter for their families. Working under deplorable conditions, they endure hardships from wild animals to bribery demands to sexual assault, only to earn incomes of less than $12 a month on average.
In Ethiopia the realities of poverty are everywhere. Children are forced to quit school and work when the complications of HIV/AIDS leave their mothers too ill to support the family. Forty percent of all of the country’s children will never attend school at all. Ethiopia has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the world. Access to basic health care is severely limited and frequently unavailable to the poor. Almost half Forty-six percent of children under the age of five will die from water-borne disease and related diarrhea.
Today the Connected in Hope Foundation is a way to actively help these women. It is fashion that gives back. When you purchase a beautiful handmade scarf or piece of jewelry, you play a direct role in helping women in Ethiopia lift themselves out of poverty. Each item purchased through Connected in Hope comes with a tag bearing the name of the woman who made it. You can then visit the website to see her picture and read her story to truly understand how your purchase is making a difference.
This Mother’s Day, consider purchasing a gift for a mom in your life through Connected in Hope. It is all about looking good while doing good. The scarves come in gorgeous colors and are set at perfect price points for a gift for someone special in your life, and for yourself too. Both the scarves and jewelry are all handmade and fair trade. For more information and to make a purchase, go to http://www.connectedinhope.org/shop/.
If you are looking for a unique way to celebrate giving with friends, consider hosting a Connected in Hope trunk show. Learn more about their fantastic trunk shows here.