Candy Elmore has a great idea for early Christmas shoppers. Buy gifts made by impoverished artists from developing countries through the WorldCrafts program of the Southern Baptist Church.
WorldCrafts items will be on sale during an open house at the Frontier Southern Baptist Church on Saturday, Oct. 30, from noon to 4 p.m. Buyers can also order from a catalog which features stories about the artists who come from Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and the Far East.
Items include jewelry, purses, handbags, clothing, Christmas ornaments and other crafts made from natural, renewable resources. They will be marked 20 percent off the original price.
Ethnic “finger food” made according to WorldCrafts recipes will be served at the open house.
WorldCrafts was founded by the Women’s Missionary Union of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1996. It began with one artisan group — Thai Country Trim in Thailand. Now WorldCrafts partners with artisan leaders and local crafts guilds worldwide.
Guilds and leaders involved with WorldCrafts abide by Fair Trade Federation guidelines.
Even though WorldCrafts is a Christian organization, it doesn’t discriminate against artists of other faiths, Elmore said. For instance, some of the clients are Muslim herdsmen in India.
Elmore said that WorldCrafts guarantees that the artists will receive a livable wage.
“We commit to pay artisans a fair price that covers not only their costs, but also insures sustainable production,” said WorldCrafts director, Andrea Mulins. “We encourage artisans to set prices that allow them to invest in the growth of their business.
“We provide partial advance on payments of the artisans that allows them to hire more people and purchase raw materials needed.”
Artisans include those who are shunned by society, such as the disabled and former slaves in sex trafficking rings.
Until WorldCrafts came along, some of these artists lived in abject poverty, not able to find markets for their work. In some cases, large corporations offered the artisans substandard pay for their work, while pulling in high profits for themselves as they sold the work at premium prices.
Ever since Elmore found out about WorldCrafts several years ago, she has wanted to host an open house which sells its crafts.
Elmore is the wife of Frontier pastor Gary Elmore. She teaches at the Kodiak Baptist Mission preschool. She said she is trying to get teenagers in her church to participate in WorldCrafts, which can make a difference in a world of poverty, hunger and its pitfalls.
The open house provides an opportunity for people to buy handmade art from renewable resources in remote regions of the world and to learn about other cultures. Purchases transform lives of artisans, their families and communities through housing, education and nutrition.
The program helps impart a sense of dignity through teaching hygiene and other survival skills, Elmore said.
Learn more about the program by linking to its website, www.WorldCraftsVillage.com.