CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Hope Village, the fair trade boutique and outreach ministry at First Presbyterian Church of Charleston, has several rooms this year devoted to gift items made by artisans from around the world.

“This is the seventh year for Hope Village,” said Mary Kay Boyle, Hope Village coordinator.

Hope Village features jewelry, shawls, wood carvings, home and children’s items, olive wood nativities, hand-woven baskets, olive oil and more.

One hundred percent of the proceeds from Hope Village go directly back to the artisans to help support their families with food, clothing, shelter and education which enables them to live a more just and sustainable life.

When Hope Village first started, it was housed in just one room. But it has grown over the years, and is now spread out into several rooms at the church.

Boyle said that in a fair trade shop, such as Hope Village, “there is a set price that you have to give the artisan in order for your organization to be fair trade.”

“Each organization here does something in addition for the artisans. They may dig wells for them, they may educate their children, they may provide food, shelter or medicine.”

Boyle said there are five new artisan groups this year at Hope Village.

One is an artisan ministry from Tajikistan.

“There is only one person in the United States who brings products in, and God led me to her. Tajikistan is on the Silk Road and was a part of the USSR, but now is an independent country,” she said.

Other fair trade organizations represented at Hope Village include Global Mamas of Ghana, which provides women with a way to generate income by creating apparel, accessories and more.

Another is Malia Designs, aiding Cambodia. Proceeds from Hope Village will increase economic opportunity for women in Cambodia and to fight human trafficking.

“Cambodia is a country that children are trafficked in,” Boyle said.

Partners for Just Trade connects producers in Peru with consumers in the United States, which allows them to be able to afford food, shelter, education and medical care.

“We also have beautiful olive wood products made by three brothers in Bethlehem that I met when I was there. They do everything from kitchen spatulas to beautiful cutting boards.”

Boyle, of South Hills, said Hope Village is an excellent shopping venue for the holidays.

“We have products that you won’t see anywhere else. We have ornaments from all over the world, which are perfect Christmas gifts,” Boyle said.

And don’t forget “the wonderful, organic, extra virgin olive oil from Palestine.”

Hope Village, on the first floor of First Presbyterian Church, Virginia Street and Leon Sullivan Way, is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through Dec. 20.

Hope Village accepts cash and checks only.

For more information, call 304-343-8961 or visit www.firstpresby.com


Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, http://wvgazettemail.com.

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BEN CALWELL
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