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PURPOSEFUL PARTY: Lifting Women Out Of Poverty

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Many women get into the home party business to make extra money. But, one woman found something to sell that also makes a difference in the lives of women around the world.

A recent gathering at a Clive home looked and sounded like any party where you might buy a purse or necklace. Connie Weaver says, "It's one of those things where normally I'll go to a party and I might by one or two things, but here I wanted to buy a lot of things."

For these women, it's the purpose behind the purchase. Compassion Entrepreneur Colleen Biegger says, "Trades of Hope is a mission based company. We purchase fair trade products from women all over the world."

Two women started Trades of Hope in Florida two and a half years ago. Now, the fair trade products are sold in homes across the country, including Iowa. Biegger says, "This product gives them an opportunity to earn a living, take care of their children and their families and ultimately lift them out of poverty."

All of the items are unique. One of the necklaces on display was made in Haiti. The beads are made out of cereal boxes. Biegger says, "They take the cereal boxes and cut them into strips and they form little beads and make beads and beautiful necklaces."

Biegger recently traveled to earthquake ravaged Haiti to see the women at work.  She says, "You still see a lot of the aftermath from the earthquake down there, but you do see a kind of people that are wanting to lift themselves out of the situation they're in."

Biegger says the artisans are paid a fair trade wage, which is up to six times what they would normally make in their home country. She says, "I'm doing this to empower women out of poverty. We're also finding that we ourselves are feeling empowered because we're doing something to change the world to make an immediate impact on somebody else."

Biegger says there aren't very many “Compassion Entrepreneurs” in Iowa compared to other at home party businesses. She says they are always looking for more. Find more information here.

Biegger recently became an ambassador for Catholic Relief Services to help raise more awareness about fair trade. Fair trade day is this Saturday.