|Headquarters||Queens, New York, United States|
HandCrafting Justice is an alternative trading organization working with approximately 2,000 women in 18 developing countries. It was started in October 1997 as a project of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. HCJ is a member of the Fair Trade Federation and Co-op America.
As an international network, they work in partnership with women and those in social and economic distress. They support them and assist them in their efforts to create employment for themselves in order to provide for their families and better their lives.
They do this by:
- Marketing items they make
- Raising consciousness of the situations in which they live
- Creating opportunities for women and men in the U.S. to get involved
- Telling the stories of women, men and children
- Creating networks of people in search of sustainable economic options for those in the developing world
History of HCJ
HandCrafting Justice was created in New York City in October 1997 to develop a fair trade marketplace for handcrafted goods produced at locations sponsored by Good Shepherd Sisters in many developing countries. Through the marketing of these handcrafted goods they are able to raise awareness of the situations of women in the developing world. HandCrafting Justice also supports the women financially through their employment, allowing them to provide for their families and to improve their own lives.
The creation of HandCrafting Justice grew out of a need to provide new income streams for women whose own strengths and skills would allow them to build a means of survival for their families. The Good Shepherd Sisters formed HCJ intending that by creating a flow of income in very low-income communities, they were establishing an important means of women's self-sufficiency.
The unique objective of HandCrafting Justice is the empowerment of each individual woman through a holistic approach: providing spiritual and emotional empowerment and economic opportunity. Along with economic opportunity, the Good Shepherd Sisters provide the support that is necessary to overcome the trauma and hardships these women confront throughout their lives. Through counseling, educational programs on healthcare, self-worth, and parenting skills, as well as schooling opportunities to those who cannot otherwise afford it, women gain a sense of new-found hope for themselves and their families. An example of their work is the traditional Paraguayan embroidered lace, Ñandutí.
Countries with communities supported by HandCrafting Justice
Fair Trade Uniforms
The Fair Trade Uniform Project offers schools the possibility of supporting HCJ's fair trade program through their school uniform purchases. Each uniform is created by women at HCJ-supported sites in Thailand and Mexico. HCJ intends that through this project women "will be able to remain in their local villages to work rather than migrating to the urban areas which often leads to undignified working conditions."
The Need for Fair Trade
HandCrafting Justice's fair trade philosophy is summarized on their website as follows:
As consumers, we are often not aware of how a product was produced or of the individual stories behind the label. In fact, the goods we buy are often produced in sweatshops, under unjust working conditions. By supporting Fair Trade initiatives, we are supporting individuals and farmers who face unjust wages and conditions, and are vulnerable to exploitation.
Our Fair Trade marketplace is a smart investment that helps women in developing countries break the cycle of poverty by using their skills and cultural traditions to market and sell authentic crafts. The dollars you spend on our products provide women in developing countries with hope and the economic, educational, health, and spiritual assistance that can transform their lives, families and communities.
Increasing globalization has brought much suffering to the poorest people of the world. Many countries with underdeveloped economies cannot offer social protection to the most vulnerable. Many people become unemployed or lose income because of declines in the demand for unskilled labor, decreases in cash crop prices, or lost land, to name but a few factors.
On the other hand, globalization offers new possibilities for cooperation. Good Shepherd Economic Justice Ministries International is working to utilize these possibilities. We wish to play our part in helping globalization work for the poor of the world.
History of The Sisters of the Good Shepherd
The Good Shepherd Sisters are in 67 countries. Their mission is to empower women and girls and their families who are marginalized in society for various reasons. They believe passionately in the dignity and unique value of each person.
The Good Shepherd Sisters have established many skills training and employment generating projects for many individuals, and especially women, who face such poverty. These employment projects often have a local market focus, such as a cooperative laundry run in Davao, Philippines, a jam-making enterprise in Baguio, Philippines, a leather goods site in Bangalore, India, a small bakery in Peru, and a welding project in El Obeid, Sudan.
Other projects need markets outside their local areas. The international network of the Good Shepherd Sisters assists in this through organizations like HandCrafting Justice in the US, Sharing Fair in Ireland and the Good Shepherd Trading Circle in Australia and New Zealand.
- The Sisters of the Good Shepherd in North America
- National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
- HandCrafting Justice
- Fair Trade Uniforms
- Good Shepherd Volunteers
- Fair Trade Federation
- Good Shepherd Trading Circle, Australia