In the Middle East, we find a group of Jordenian women picking up sea glass from the Red Sea. These will be used to make beautiful jewelry items, like the Sea Glass Necklace (each is unique and gorgeous!). This group is a social business merging women trying to work their way out of poverty with environmental awareness to provide jobs for women in need in Jordan. They give opportunities to women in the community and empower them with skills and a sense of self-worth. Through this opportunity, they have seen an increase in voice in the family structure.
Many Jordanian women have their lives controlled by their closest male relatives. These women balance customs and traditions at home, which remains a difficult challenge. On many mornings in Aqaba, ladies in this artisan group can be heard singing, laughing, or drinking tea while creating these unique hand made items from trash. The concept of recycling and environmental awareness is new to Jordan and there is little education about the topic. Trash litters the streets and there are only one or two places that receive recyclable materials. They hope that by leading in example they can teach the community the importance of recycling and taking care of the environment.
Some of the women are divorced, orphaned, widowed, or married to a man whom may already have many wives. Many struggle to pay for basic needs. Amid all these struggles, these ladies arrive to work with dignity each day. They are empowered to craft items and to provide for their families. Women have a lot to offer this society and their families and this group strives to come alongside them, give them opportunities they normally would not have had, and speak encouragement and life into them. Through this amazing group, Jordanian women are supported in an environment in which all women have the ability to earn a wage and the power to transform their lives.
The women of Jordan are just one example of the many artisan groups Trades of Hope works with. These women make beautiful jewelry and have been able to support themselves and their families!