Today, I am grateful.
Our artisans are the heart and soul of I Thought of You. Together, we've changed lives around the world and the effects continue to ripple throughout their communities. Here are just a few of their stories.
"I live in a small village with my wife and children. My parents were poor farmers and, with seven children, there were many things we could not afford. I was not able to attend school because my family needed my help to earn enough income to survive. I want to provide a future for my children that allows them to attend school until they graduate. My wife and I work very hard every day to carve wood boxes, small figures, and walking sticks. I enjoy my work and am glad that we have many orders for more wood carvings. All of my goods are made with sustainability-sourced materials. When you purchase my goods, you are supporting my family and also helping to save the planet. Thank you to the people who have purchased my goods."
"Learning a trade has increased my confidence and has given me a place in my community. I want to help other women in my community to turn their life around just like I did. I am proud to work and have independence from my past while I look forward to what my future holds. I like to include patterns from my culture and elements of nature into the bags I sew. My goal is to organize a community group to mentor and teach young girls near my town so I can share the opportunity to overcome the employment barriers that I've faced in the past. I am inspired to be able to bring hope to the next generation of women in my community."
"My job was to sell food on the street to help my family. I became sick and business stopped because people didn't want to buy my food when they learned I was ill. My family could not afford medicine so I stayed sick for a long time and I eventually was no longer able to walk. I was so worried that I would become a burden to my family. I am so thankful that my neighbor taught me how to sew and weave and I was able to save enough to pay for medical care. I have gained confidence, have a new outlook on life, but most importantly, have gained independence and can support myself."
"My family arranged for my marriage at age 14. Shortly after, I became pregnant. My husband left us and we had little money to live on. It was a very difficult time for us, every day was full of crying and praying. I am so grateful to get the opportunity to make jewelry and am even more grateful for the people who buy my jewelry. Without people buying the jewelry, my daughter and I would have no future but everything has changed for us. I have since taught four other women how to make jewelry and they have begun earning an income as well."
"I am very thankful to the people who buy my scarves. In 2001, my village in the north-western desert of India was devastated by an earthquake. We have rebuilt but were left with very little. I am happy to get the chance to show my skill and sell my goods to people who know they are supporting a women who, after the disaster, could barely afford to buy food. Since I've been working, I've even saved enough money to send my son to school. Our future looks bright now, there is no better feeling than income independence. Thank you!"
"The work opportunities that have come to my village have changed the lives of my family. My work reflects craftsmanship passed down for generations in my family, we are very proud to produce quality carvings. We know that supporting education is the key to the success of future generations and we are proud to be able to send all of our children to a school in our village."