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Women are some of the poorest people in the world yet their ability to prosper is key to the development of any community. One of the way to empower women is through fair trade micro-enterprise programs.Raven and Lily is a non-profit design studio, located in Echo Park California, which is dedicated to partnering with women in India, Africa and Los Angeles through design partnerships and micro enterprise opportunities.
Raven and Lily boasts a variety of collections—from accessories to stationery to baby wear—much of it eco friendly.
One collection from Ethiopia uses recycled metals—melted down war weapons, secondhand nickel and copper—to make jewelry, while another uses remnant cotton, used paper, and high end designer silks, donated from a local designer in LA called Cynthia Vincent, to make stationery.
Raven and Lily partners with the various local artisans to ensure the products are tweaked to fit the modern aesthetic while still reflecting where a product has come from.
Micro-enterprise offers a woman the means to earn a living and imbues them with a sense of self worth. As consumers we have a way to support this and other initiatives through the purchase of fair trade items.
Read more about micro-finance:
MicroPlace: Getting Something Back from MicroFinance Loans
Meet Robyn Nietert of the Women's Microfinance Initiative: Building Businesses, and Lives, One Loan At a Time (Interview)
7 Microfinance Organizations for Maximum Impact, Minimal Investment