Supporting marginalized communities by empowering local artisans
Breaking the cycle of generational poverty is no easy feat. Lack of job opportunities, educational resources, and financial means are the key challenges that limit marginalized communities. Poverty has a disproportionate and deep impact on women in particular.
For that reason, ShopatMAP has taken on the mission to support female artisans by providing a platform and the tools to market their handmade creations. Through this effort, craftswomen are able to lift themselves as well as their local community out of the trenches of poverty.
In honor of Women’s Equality Day, we are highlighting some of the ShopatMAP artisans who are utilizing their passion for handcrafted items to pave a road to financial freedom.
Enabling women to be self-sufficient is truly a ripple effect. Take Ellen, one of our talented craftswomen from Harare, Zimbabwe who sources all of the materials for her unique earrings from local vendors. By supporting Ellen, jobs and income are being created on many fronts.
In fact, many of our artisans choose to source their materials from eco-friendly and sustainable local businesses.
The trickle-down effect also means jobs are being created especially for women who might not have had another option aside from inconsistent low-paying day jobs. In Dakar, Senegal an emerging artist, Djénéba, produces stunning fabric necklaces by hiring three local women to create these tastefully designed and intricate pieces.
The global health pandemic has only exacerbated women's inequity and the future is bleak. According to a recent report, women make up 54 percent of overall global job losses in part due to the role of the family caretaker falling on the shoulders of women. The United Nations estimates that 47 million women and girls globally will be forced into extreme poverty this year.
Due to safety and lockdowns, many entrepreneurs have been forced out of the big cities and back home which has had severe financial repercussions on family economic standings. Fortunately, handcrafted malas and other jewelry are still being made by ShopatMAP artisans Sanju, Goma, Sita, Hari and Janaka in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. These women are able to create beautiful pieces from their homes, protecting themselves and their families from the Covid-19 virus while allowing the ladies to support their families.
Despite the current turmoil and devastation in Afghanistan, we will continue to support women across the country. For over 20 years, Habiba Jan has embroidered hand woven clutch wallets and crossbody bags with handwoven fabric from Bamiyan Valley located in the central highlands of Afghanistan. Through the handcrafted products, she is able to provide work for 25 women in her community as well as support all of her grandchildren.
An effect of the pandemic is the realization that our world is truly interconnected. The ShopatMAP marketplace connects people around the world by bridging between unique creators and conscious shoppers.
“Women’s economic empowerment includes women’s ability to participate equally in existing markets; their access to and control over productive resources, access to decent work, control over their own time, lives and bodies; and increased voice, agency and meaningful participation in economic decision-making at all levels from the household to international institutions.” -United Nations
By Hoda Emam