LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT

by Homeland Development Initiative Foundation
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LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT
LOCAL HANDICRAFTS FOR WOMEN EMPOWERMENT

The COVID19 pandemic has locked down the world. The economic wheels of the world have ground almost to a halt.

But not HDIF in Armenia!

Having an inkling of what was coming and seeing the need to pivot quickly, we threw ourselves at producing PPE face masks. The World Fair Trade Organization in Asia and one of our German clients threw their support behind us, and we were off and flying - tested, approved, 100% cotton, washable face masks.

We have about 150 families that depend on us for a supplemental income, and this is a way to keep an income coming to them. Pivot from potholders, aprons and coin purses to masks. They are doing it full steam today! 

Between March 15th when we started the whole project and the beginning of June, we received orders for over 16.000 masks We are participating in tenders all over the world for supplying hundreds of thousands more masks to them. 

This is one amazing pivot!

Not satisfied yet, we thought of our crochet groups who were not able to pivot to mask making. We designed and developed a series of Pandemic Heroes.

The waiters and waitresses that put food on your cafe talbe and to do it to put food on their own table. This means wearing a mask all day, and exposing themselves to lots of customers customers who might or might not take the virus seriously. They're heroes, as are the doctors, nurses, delivery staff, waiters/waitresses, taxi drivers and police. 

All these figures and more are available as both miniatures and finger puppets, and keep dozens of women busy with their crochet hooks. They all are wearing masks!

Another amazing pivot!

We are amazed at the resilience and creativity of all of HDIF's producer partners, across Armenia.

Appreciate your support!

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Gayane
Gayane

A positive start to the New Year!  Thanks to your contributions we’ve establish three new producers groups. 15 more women have joined the HDIF family, 8 from Martuni, Gegharkunik province, situated on the shores of Lake Sevan, 3 women from Yeghegnadzor, Vayots Dzor province, southeastern Armenia and 4 women from Spitak, Lori province, north east of Armenia have been trained to improve their crochet and needle felting techniques to produce crochet egg warmers, mini animals and Easter/Christmas felt ornaments. And this is just a start!

The focus in 2020 is to increase production capacity, this means encouraging more women to feel empowered to start small micro businesses which lead to creating sustainable jobs for more women in their communities…..And that is what Homeland Development Initiative Foundation - HDIF stands for!

The increase of export orders in 2019 to German, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland and USA gave us enough motivation to once again participate at Ambiente Consumer Fair Trade Show which took place in Frankfurt from February 7 - 11, 2020. We returned from the fair exhausted but exceptionally rewarded with larger quantities of orders from existing clients and new clients from UK and Austria interested in our products and placing orders. The interest is mainly on baby rattles, mini animal key rings, egg warmers, Viking finger puppets and our new range of needle felt Easter egg ornaments. The focus is also on Fair Trade – HDIF is Armenias first and only guaranteed members of The World Fair Trade Organization, which means we guarantee the fair trade 10 principals in our products, produced by our amazing producer partners who are now gaining a reputation of being expert crocherters, these same women who you’ve helped us train with your valued contributions! Our producer partner, Gayane, who heads a strong team of 30 ladies in Gyumri, is totally overwhelmed with excitement and together with her and all our other producers from various regions of Armenia, we are already in the process of production planning the orders we’ve received from Ambiente!

So, what’s next?..... Trainings! We are planning a program of trainings for all our producer/partners based on supply chain management to help them cope with the increased demand of orders….More updates on this in our next report.

For now….a big THANK YOU TO YOU!! Our amazing donors, who without your valued contributions all the above would prove difficult to accomplish. Please spread our good work and encourage your families, friends, neighbors and work colleagues to visit our website www.hdif.org to learn more about our activities and to consider becoming a contributor to our project!

Baby rattles and key rings
Baby rattles and key rings
Our stand this year at Ambiente
Our stand this year at Ambiente

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Seda from Berd
Seda from Berd

Wow! What an amazing year and it’s all thanks to you!

So what went on in 2019?....For a start with your support we shifted our focus from retailing to exports…Why?...After attending Ambiente, the leading international consumer goods trade fair that took place in Frankfurt during February 2019, orders starting flowing in. Export orders grew by 185% proving that it's far more beneficial for our artisans for us to focus our attention on exports. More orders mean volume, volume means regular work for the many women who rely on us to market the products they produce. You did this, with your help we create work for 200 women in vulnerable communities in six regions of Armenia.

So who's buying HDIF products?

27,800 mini crochet finger puppets for a Fair Trade Italian chocolate company, 1,640 crochet baby rattles for a German client and 406 crochet Christmas ornaments for clients in the US & New Zealand, provided work for 35 women in Gyumri.

1,100 egg warmers are being produced for a German client, providing work for 10 women in Talin. 

5,186 crochet products (hair bands, bookmarks and mini animals) provided work for 35 women in Berd. 

500 egg warmers are being produced by a new group in Martuni for a client in Germany…providing work for 7 women in the community.

These are just some of the orders that provide a much needed income for the women involved in our project. Not only an income but also help to build their moral and give them the confidence to feel that they too are capable of earning an income to help maintain and support their families. 

During October and early November you sent us on the road….

We travelled a total of 1,980km visiting our artisans to discuss plans on capacity building and what we foresee in 2020. Visits included to Berd, Goghovit, Goris, Gyumri, Kapan, Margahovit, Martuni, Sissian, Spitak, Talin, Vanadzor, Vartenis and Vazashen.

And what are we planning for 2020?.....

We’re going to Frankfurt again in February to bag more orders for our artisans! To fulfill these orders we need to focus on capacity building and provide trainings, particularly to the group leaders who manage the team of women, conduct quality checks and monitor the production process of orders. It will require frequent visits to the regions to encourage group leaders to empower more women in their communities.  

All the above cannot be possible without you! Your valuable support is our lifeline, without it we couldn’t achieve any of the above and for that we are truly grateful to you all!

As this will be the final report for 2019, we wish you all love and peace for the festive holidays and hope you will continue to support us to achieve much more in 2020.

Map with locations of HDIF producers visited
Map with locations of HDIF producers visited
Egg warmers produced for German client
Egg warmers produced for German client
Empowering women through crochet in Martuni
Empowering women through crochet in Martuni
Discussing production with Gayane in Gyumri
Discussing production with Gayane in Gyumri
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Gayane from Gyumri, Armenia
Gayane from Gyumri, Armenia

What an amazing few months!…. Export sales have increased and new enquiries are pouring in. We’ve been sourcing new producers and at the same time relocated our operation to a fantastic new office & retail showroom…WHY? We wanted to shift our focus on our ever growing export orders….Yes exports! Since early 2018 HDIF producers have been busy crocheting orders for Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Norway, USA, Australia New Zealand & Lebanon markets. Not just for Fair Trade distributors but also private businesses, museums and organizations

Gayane, one of our producer partners from Gyumri, who heads a team of 20 women recently announced the team has grown to 35…”women in Gyumri are approaching me to ask if they can join, word has got around in the community that there is a demand for women who know how to crochet” Why? “Simple, regular income and the fact that the women get together once a week to crochet together. It gives them an opportunity to talk amongst themselves, share problems, give support and encouragement to one another”….Now that’s what we call EMPOWERMENT! Earlier in June Gyumri managed to complete the second installment of one of HDIF’s largest order, 27,788 mini crochet finger puppet delivered to Italy….”amazing, lovingly crochet by a ladies in Gyumri and destined to please little children in Italy” said a very proud Gayane! The team is now working on 270 baby rattles for Germany and 350 Christmas ornaments to New Zealand.

IT DOESN’T END THERE….HDIF managed to deliver 1,250 Capricorn crochet mini animal keytags/finger puppets/pencil tops to Switzerland in April 2019. 300 Viking crochet finger puppets to Denmark in July 2019. All handmade by our producers in Berd. The 20 strong team of ladies are now working on 500 crochet mini animal bracelets and 500 mini hair bands to be delivered to a Fair Trade distributor in Germany by end of August.

Yes, HDIF is working hard to constantly expanding export sale….And what does this mean?…VOLUME! A much needed volume for the producers we work with. Not only does it sustain what we are trying to achieve - CREATING JOBS for women in rural regions of Armenia - it also opens up opportunities for further employment opportunities in the communities we work in.

And all this cannot be achieved without you. Your help and kind contributions gives us the opportunity and the life line to not only mentor women in vulnerable communities but also provides us the means to market products towards establishing sustainable and regular volume of export orders that contribute towards maintaining regular work and income for our producers …..YOU HAVE BEEN AMAZING! THANK YOU!

Gyumri team hard at work making baby rattles
Gyumri team hard at work making baby rattles
Crochet Christmas ornaments
Crochet Christmas ornaments
Capricorn key tag
Capricorn key tag
Crochet animal bracelets
Crochet animal bracelets
Making an Italian order mini finger puppet
Making an Italian order mini finger puppet
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Aida
Aida

Who said traditional skills are not important? Very wrong. In the case of Aida and Maral they have proved to be a powerful tool to own. Both repatriated to Armenia when war broke out in Syria.

Aida, from Marash, Syria, moved with her family to Yerevan in 2012. Embroidery was a regular pastime in their family home, so when she came to Armenia, she found the market lacked jewellery with embroidery detailing and decided to use her skills to produce beautiful necklaces to sell to support her family.

Maral, originally from Aleppo, Syria, learnt embroidery techniques from her grandmother. Her home in Aleppo was adorned with ornaments she made herself using these skills. This helped her to start a business from zero in Armenia making accessories and ornaments to sell to support her family of 5.

HDIF have been working with both these strong, hardworking women to develop further products such as these beautiful coin purses and stylish key wallets incorporating beautiful Marash, Urfa, Antap & Svaz embroidery techniques…..Amazing, and all this couldn't be achieved without your continuous support…THANK YOU!

Maral
Maral
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Organization Information

Homeland Development Initiative Foundation

Location: Yerevan - Armenia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @HDIFarmenia
Project Leader:
Timothy Straight
Mr.
Kentron, YEREVAN Armenia
$27,228 raised of $42,642 goal
 
409 donations
$15,414 to go
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