Manos de Madres (which translates to “Hands of Mothers,” respectively), founded in 2003, is a wonderful non-profit focusing their efforts on improving the lives of women and their families, working directly with cooperatives to provide financial, technical, business, and creative assistance. A member of the Fair Trade Federation, as well as Green America, Manos de Madres currently hosts initiatives in Rwanda, South Africa, and Honduras.
- Ejo Hazaza Initiative, Rwanda: Jewelry made from African fabric and paper beads, by women with HIV/AIDS who decided to form a collective to raise money to buy baby formula to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to their babies.
- INEZA Initiative, Rwanda: A sewing cooperative featuring 25 women living with HIV/AIDS in Rwanda, formed by international initiative, WE-ACTx (Women’s Equity in Access to Care and Treatment), as a means for these women to generate income and have a place for physical and emotional support, including HIV testing, treatment, and education.
- Solidarite Initiative, Rwanda: An association of 375 Rwandan men and women seeking to fight HIV/AIDS and alleviate poverty. They also care for 240 orphans and vulnerable children. Their income is solely based on sales of their craft, basket weaving, as they receive no financial support from outside organizations.
- Shwe Shwe Poppis Initiative, South Africa: The African Children’s Feeding Program’s economic empowerment and fundraising sector, feeding over 21,000 kids daily. Each doll is designed by the children of the Zola nursery, a preschool for kids with severe illnesses, like HIV/AIDS. The dolls are sewn by 29 mothers and grandmothers using brightly-patterned, cotton Shwe Shwe cloth.
- Trash Bags/Trash Beads Initiative, Honduras: Using from 100% post-consumer waste, women of the TRASH BAGS cooperatives in Rio Negro and Matazano design and produce beautiful personal and home accessories. This project aims to generate income, empower women, and reverse environmental degradation.
For more information on the Manos de Madres initiatives, visit their website at manosdemadres.org.