Our partners work with the Association Afous Gafous, founded in 2009 by Fadma Mohsine. Afous Gafous, “hand in hand”, is located in a village outside of the city of Ouarzazate. Fadma began weaving at the age of 15 with the help of her mother, despite unexpectedly becoming partially disabled. She was the first in her village to come up with new and innovative designs using natural dyes, and begun teaching a group of women in her village how to weave because she saw them struggle to develop their craft and become financially independent. Today, Fadma provides mentorship to 15 women from the association, and together they have overcome many barriers to successfully grow their revenue and their cooperative. Major systemic barriers stopped the group from getting their creations into the market. Artisans all across Morocco were exploited and only received on average 4% of the sale of their products, that is until a group of artisans came together 10 years ago and created the Anou. More than fair trade, our partners are Morocco’s only artisan-owned and managed ecommerce platform where artisans receive 100% of the price of their product, with an additional percentage that goes into paying the artisans and managing their platform. They are recognized by Ashoka as one of the most socially impactful projects of the MENA region, helping artisans build an array of solutions to reclaim their market, and enable groups like Afous Gafous to not only make a living out of their craft, but thrive in it and develop it further. Purchasing these bands from our partners creates revenue for rural craftswomen and also helps build the future of craft in Morocco as a whole. Our partners have created initiatives to reduce the amount of water consumed to dye wool, and have also incorporated solar energy resulting in reduction in carbon in the washing and dying process.

Our partners work with over 120 artisans in seven communities in four regions of Cusco, each region with its own distinct textile traditions and techniques. They work with these artisan groups to strengthen their craft, empower indigenous women, and connect their culture and textiles to the world. The purchase of these handmade textiles directly supports over 100 families and their children by increasing their income and investing in their communities. Each hat band is designed through collaboration with the Peruvian hat makers, combining environmentally conscious practices with their ancient techniques, resulting in unique, high-quality textiles.

The Guatemalan cinta hat bands are handwoven by Mayan weavers living in remote rural communities in the Guatemalan highlands, using weaving skills that have been handed down through generations. Though renowned worldwide as expert textile artists, most Mayan women and their families live in conditions of extreme poverty. However because of fair trade, our artisan partners are able to feed their families, send their children to school, and harbor hopes for a better future, as they preserve the culture they cherish.

Our partners work with a collective of 25 Syrian refugee women in Shatila refugee camp, Lebanon, whose needlework helps them to support themselves and their families. And just as important: it eases the psychological hardships of exile by providing a creative and productive pastime, and giving artisan women an opportunity to forge friendships as they embroider together and learn from each other. Embroidery is a traditional skill that is widespread throughout the Arab world, and which is often passed down to Syrian women today by their mothers and grandmothers. When the armed conflict in Syria forced many of these women to leave behind their homes and possessions, their traditional skill sets turned out to be more important than they had ever expected.