Thursday, July 18, 2013


Have any of you heard of Shona Congo? If not, you need to check them out. We all love purchasing with a purpose over here now don't we? So go purchase ladies! Well first acutally, read the story of Shona Congo... Dawn is here on the Give1 blog today, sharing their story...

One day, when I was living in Eastern Congo, I looked out my kitchen window and saw my neighbor, a sixty year old woman, carrying rocks on her head. It may seem like a simple image but it was one that I couldn't get out of my head.  This gray-haired woman was carrying these large. heavy rocks to a construction site, where she was be paid less than a dollar.  For a days work. Less than a dollar, for offering herself as a human wheelbarrow.    That was the moment I understood how desperately people want to work, to earn a living.  I understood why everyday when I would leave my house in Congo, the first thing people would ask for, wasn't money and wasn't food.  It was a job.     A few months later, I met 4 young women, disabled by polio and displaced by war.  And I realized that for them it was even more impossible to find work. For them, even carrying rocks was out of their reach.    These determined young women, on crutches and metal leg braces, with no education and no money, had left their rural homes in search of a better life.  They had learned to sew.  To create beauty.  But they were being taken advantage of, paid for a fraction of their work.  Because what other choice did they have? 

And so I started SHONA Congo, to give them a choice.  And to give you a choice, to buy something directly from the hands of these amazing women.  It is just the 5 us.  They sew bags and crafts, and I stock and ship.  100% of the profit goes back to them.  Directly into their hands.   Working with these women has been an amazing journey.  I have seen how their work has made them strong and independent. They have bought small plots of lands and built their own little workshop.  And in a complete reversal of expectations, they have become the pillars of their families, putting food on the table.  These women who have never been to school themselves, are the ones making it possible for nieces and nephews to go to school. They are the ones building homes for their elderly parents, and paying for medicine when children get sick.   To them, the ability to work with dignity and care for those around them, is a privilege and an honor.  In the past few years, they have each gotten married and become mothers for the first time.  A huge joy in their lives, and something they had barely dreamed was possible.     

Don't get me wrong.  None of it comes easy.  Last year, the fighting in Eastern Congo escalated and the women were sent fleeing their homes, looking for safety with babies on their backs and crutches under their arms.  Right now, they are in refugee camps.  They are starting over again, but they have their families and they have their faith.  And in the midst of difficult circumstances they have four sewing machines, and the knowledge of what their own hands can accomplish.  With that, anything is possible.   

Read the stories of these amazing women and see the beauty they create at  

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