Help Native American women earn an income

by A Global Friendship

At A Global Friendship, our goal is to alleviate poverty in developing regions by focusing on empowering women. Through our main program "Project Home", we have empowered several underserved communities by helping local women grow their micro/small businesses in Thailand, Indonesia, Peru, and India. As a continuation of this project right here in the United States, we are focusing on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota - an area rich in culture and history, but with a near 80% unemployment rate.

With your help, the strong, inspirational women on the Pine Ridge Reservation have been successfully creating beautiful and culturally-rich bracelets, wraps, and necklaces for their small businesses. However, there is still more work to be done. With the recent transition in materials from sage to sweet-grass, and the difficulties in communication due to Pine Ridge’s lack of computers/cell phones, A Global Friendship’s physical presence on the Pine Ridge Reservation is more paramount than ever. To help encourage these women in their entrepreneurial endeavors, A Global Friendship aspires to hold face-to-face workshops and meetings with women on the reservation.

To do this, we hope to raise $18,000 to cover costs for our trip back to South Dakota, and the wages and production costs that would entail. Every little bit counts, and A Global Friendship would like to emphasize just how appreciative we are of your support. We thank you for all the wonderful donations. It’s with your generosity that we can acquire the resources to help these Native American women become entrepreneurs, and it’s with your help that we can continue doing work that is rewarding not only to us, but to all the women that we serve.

Help us to continue supporting these women. Help us give them the tools to build their livelihoods, and give them the means to provide for themselves, their families, and the community as a whole. Thank you all!

Lakota Beaded Wrap,made by our artisan at PRR
Lakota Beaded Wrap,made by our artisan at PRR

This year, AGF is seeking corporate sponsorship to fund the majority of costs for Project Home Pine Ridge Reservation. Some of our partners have expressed a deeper interest in the work we do so it is a very rewarding and exciting time for us.

We've updated our campaign budget here on Global Giving to keep our passionate individual donors abreast. From this platform, we seek to cover costs for our first trip back to South Dakota and the wages and production costs that entails. These costs amount to $18,000.

Here at A Global Friendship, we are immensely grateful for our Global Giving community and look forward to continuing our relationship with each and every one of you in 2015. From our hearts and those of the women we serve - thank you.

Let's give these women a chance to create a life. Let's give them the toolset to better themselves and their community.

This season help us close out this campaign with a holiday year end gift . This past year has been busy: We have built strong partnerships and made big steps toward positive change and development on Pine Ridge Reservation. The project has been sponsored by numerous companies and we received a fair amount of in-kind donations. But that is not enough; we need your help to complete this campaign. Of the $6,920 we have only $1,635 remaining.  Please consider making a gift to give women on PRR opportunity.  Also consider sharing our work and this campaign within your network.  Word of mouth goes a long way -we appreciate your generosity.

A Global Friendship's goal is to alleviate poverty in developing regions by focusing on empowering women. Through our main program "Project Home", we have empowered under-served communities by helping local artisans grow their micro/small businesses in Thailand, Indonesia, Peru, and India. However, this time around we wanted to bring it back home to the United States, specifically to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. 

Pine Ridge Reservation is home to over 30,000 Native Americans with an almost 80% unemployment rate. It is a community rich in culture and history, and a burning desire to improve their lives. Women at Pine Ridge are working with our designers to develop bands and necklaces that are the perfect mix of contemporary design and tradition. This new design is fresh, innovative, delicate and importantly, on-trend. Not only are the women involved in conceptual design, they are taught to grow their small business to sustain opportunity in the community. Our main product was the Sage Braid. 

This past summer has been extremely trying on the ladies on the Pine Ridge Reservation. After a workshop early this summer for the production of The Sage Braid, we thought we were off to an excellent start: ready to fill online and boutique orders as long as the Braids kept coming in from the ladies out on Pine Ridge. 

The main issue we ran into was the fact that sage is not malleable as we were expecting it to be. It dries out very quickly and is almost unusable after just a day of delicate handling. This means every morning, early morning, sage needs to be picked before the training session. However the sage wouldn't last the week's training session.  

Given our desire to use a sustainable, natural product, one that grows abundantly on the reservation, we thought sage was a good choice. However when we realized the issues of choosing a seasonal plant for a product we want to sell year-round, we brainstormed and found sweet-grass to be a viable alternative. Unlike sage, sweet-grass can be re-wetted and therefore does not limit us to strict time parameters. 

Going forward it is ideal to consider all the limitations of raw materials. Despite the many great qualities, often the set backs need to be realized in order to save time, and money.

A Beautifully Fluorescent Sage Braid
A Beautifully Fluorescent Sage Braid

This summer has been extremely trying on the ladies on the Pine Ridge Reservation. After a workshop early this summer for the production of The Sage Braid, we thought we were off to an excellent start: ready to fill online and boutique orders as long as the Braids kept coming in from the ladies out on Pine Ridge. 

However, quality communication is always an issue when it comes to reaching the ladies on Pine Ridge. In our modern world where we're expected to be reachable at all hours of day and night, most of the women working for us cannot afford a cell phone, so contacting them is nearly impossible. After several phone call attempts and even a couple snail mail letters, we finally heard from Tamara and Katie, our project leaders. 
For the past week, following the Sundance celebration, Tamara has been in the hospital sick with pneumonia. Meanwhile, Katie, her daughter, has been charged with taking care of the rest of the kids while Tamara's health recovers. We have been actively trying to plan a trip out to the Res so we can conduct another workshop and get things back on track, but the lack of communication has stalled us significantly. 
Unfortunately, confidence and productivity are very low in regards to The Sage Braid. We need your help to get back to the Reservation, re-establish the self-confidence in the women and their abilities, and break down the communication barriers that keep us from effectively pulling these women out of poverty.
Please spread the message of our mission to your friends and family who may not know what life is like for the Native Americans within America's borders.
Experience the spirituality of the work behind The Sage Braid and purchase yours today. All profits from The Sage Braid go toward providing an income for our network of women on the Pine Ridge Reservation. 
Help us empower these Native American women and give them an opportunity to earn a living. 
 

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Organization Information

A Global Friendship

Location: Brooklyn, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.aglobalfriendship.org
Project Leader:
Elizabeth Firgeleski
New York, New York United States

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This project is no longer accepting donations.
 

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