Once again CONNECTED IN HOPE is hooking one of you guys up with an awesome scarf this holiday season!  They are letting you pick any scarf from their online store if you win!  Don’t worry if you don’t win, they are offering you all FREE SHIPPING on your orders with the code DREAMBIG – First let me introduce you to one of the ladies that actually makes these awesome scarves:

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Meet Mulu — At 49 years old, Mulu’s face tells the story of the hardships she has endured. When she was in her early twenties Mulu escaped an abusive husband and fled the Ethiopian countryside for Addis Ababa. Hoping to find a better life and more opportunity in Ethiopia’s capital city, her dreams were quickly dashed. Having limited education and no skills she was forced to begin the job of carrying fuel wood.

Mulu’s work as a fuel wood carrier began long before the sun rose over Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She left her sleeping children, quietly slipped out of the door and made her way to the jungle. For the next few hours she collected eucalyptus branches from the forest floor, gathering them into a thick bundle. Hoisting the 75 lb. bundle to her back, Mulu began the long hike to the market in the center of the city. Mulu’s back hunched over from the tremendous weight and her muscles burned as she walked; the physical toll that this work was taking on her body evident with every step. Mulu knew the birr she hoped to earn, worth less than $1 USD, would barely be enough to pay for her medication and feed her children just for that day. If she were fortunate, she would sell all the fuel wood and start her long walk home by late afternoon. Tomorrow, long before dawn, she would begin again.

Connected in Hope was founded to help these women build their weaving business so it could provide each of them with a sustainable, predictable, and Fair Trade income. The weavers are paid upfront for their beautiful, hand woven scarves, which we then bring to the international market through our website, retail stores and trunk shows. Once the scarves are sold, the profit is re-invested in programs that benefit the women and their families. We take a holistic approach that goes beyond simply buying and reselling scarves to include operating a preschool and day care serving 51 children, providing capacity building programs for the weavers, and providing basic health care.

fuel wood carrierAs one of the 70 women working with Connected in Hope, Mulu’s life today is much different. Instead of the back-breaking work of carrying fuel wood, she weaves on her own loom at our Kolfe compound, surrounded by friends who have similar stories. She worries less about the future because her income has increased and is more predictable. She is proud and happy knowing women throughout the world are wearing (and loving!) her beautiful scarves.

A story like Mulu’s is woven into every scarf sold through Connected in Hope. By purchasing one of these scarves the buyer not only has an opportunity to financially support the woman who made it, but also to connect with her on a personal level. Each scarf purchased bears a tag with the weaver’s name and comes with a card that allows the buyer or individual receiving the scarf to send the weaver a personal note. The notes are translated and shared with the weavers, validating their talent and their very worth. Every purchase made through Connected in the Hope makes a real difference in a weaver’s life, giving her more than an income—giving her hope for the future.

I love that you can actually send the weaver a note.  What a joy this Christmas season!  Check out these beautiful scarves:

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So I know by now you are probably thinking what woman in your life would love these scarves!  There are lots of ways to enter below and if you don’t win, would you still consider shopping for some of your Christmas gifts at Connected in Hope and making a difference in one woman’s life, which in turn makes a difference in a family’s life, which in turn makes a difference in a community’s life.  It all helps!  You could knock out all your teacher gifts with one shop!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{if you are reading this via your email you’ll need to click the rafflecopter link above to enter}

MERRY CHRISTMAS SMALL

For the month of November and December I’m showcasing places you can buy gifts that either give back, or are from small business owners.  Let’s put our money in places that make a difference.  To make sure you never miss a giveaway, feel free to subscribe to blog.  You can do that at the top right on the side.  –>

Prize can only be shipped to US.  Winners are chosen randomly.  Please consider buying gifts for your loved ones from here.

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