Favorite Charity: Links of Hope Network
I started Links of Hope Network in 2007 in an effort to combine my love for jewelry making and a desire to help impoverished, marginalized women. Links of Hope Network was established to equip desperate women with practical jewelry making skills and to provide free tools and free raw materials in order to help these women earn a sustainable income. We provide free training in jewelry making, up to $40 in tools, beading manuals in Spanish and free beading materials such as beads, wire, crimps and clasps to each trained woman. In 2007, we successfully trained seven women and established our first artisan group in Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras. Since then, Links of Hope Network has trained over 30 women in a slum called Las Tablas in San Jose, Costa Rica and in the summer of 2010 we are returning to Honduras to partner with a Deaf Vocational School to teach ten deaf adults basic jewelry making.
Links of Hope Network is my life's work. Providing marginalized women with the opportunity to run a marketable cottage industry from their home allows them to earn an income from their home with dignity and respect. Links of Hope Network is about empowering mothers to nurture, protect and provide for children who are often institutionalized in re-nutrition centers or become victims to the sex trade. There are over 200,000 street children in Honduras and over 300,000 working children; and for each one of these children there is a mother who didn't find a way to provide. Links of Hope Network is about making a way where there seems to be no way. As the mother of a deaf son myself, I understand the enormous role deaf education plays in the life and success of a deaf individual. In Honduras, only 15% of deaf Hondurans receive a formal education and only 1% go to high school. Vocational skills are essential for deaf adults to move from dependence to independence, to move from desperation to real hope. Links of Hope Network is a practical approach that combines business thinking and jewelry trends to strengthen philanthropy and combat poverty.
We host ongoing bead drives where we collect bead donations and ship those materials to our trained women in Honduras and Costa Rica so they can have access to ongoing free raw materials. We host a one week beading work shop that is fun and exciting for everyone involved. Once trained, each woman receives her start up kit of tools and beads, but Links of Hope Network is committed to giving these women ongoing support by sending additional raw materials as they collect them throughout the year.