One of our committee members recently visited an organization selling ethically produced bags in La Paz, Bolivia. See her report below:
Hi there! I am back from two weeks of travel and it feels good to be in Atlanta again. While I was on vacation, I had the privilege of visiting and volunteering with Word Made Flesh in La Paz, Bolivia. They work through survivors of prostitution in La Paz through their amazing community. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know several members of that community, see the beautiful works that God is doing through them, and paint a room to help beautify their already incredible space. Fair trade is directly improving the lives of people in Bolivia.
Word Made Flesh operates three programs with women who are affected by sexual exploitation in the Red Light District of La Paz, and then also operates a kids’ program for 30 of their children. It is truly wonderful to see. The three programs are
- Presence: They visit women in the brothels to build relationships and offer hope
- Step by Step: Through therapy, resources, and case management, they work with women to develop and implement a plan to leave prostitution
- Suti Sana: A social enterprise that trains and then employs survivors of prostitution. The survivors create the beautiful bags and other items you see pictured.
While there, I saw tangibly how they are working, which brings me to a suggestion of how you can support fair trade: buy one Suti Sana’s products. I purchased one while I was there and have been using it endlessly. It is SO well made. Also, it is much more fashionable and longer lasting than several other similar products from other social enterprises. They do not sacrifice quality in their efforts to do good.
However, their business is struggling and therefore they cannot hire as many women as they may like to have there. So, your purchase of one, or several, products (they make great gifts), and you telling others about this great ministry can make a huge difference.