In Durres, Albania is a cooperative of women that we have loved connecting with. They were organized by a long-term missionary in the community named Dawn, and they are knitting clothing accessories, coffee cup covers, and more in order to support their families.
The community where they live poses some challenges. There is very little work, and the husbands of women in the cooperative have no jobs. Due to this, two things happen. The first is that the men drink a lot, and many of them are abusive in their homes. The second is that they travel abroad to countries around Albania trying to find work. This means that the women are left at home with the children, and in many situations, no money.
Dawn has offered these women work, and as an extension of that, hope. They are able to feed their families, get the medical care they need (all the women in this cooperative are living with some kind of physical disability that makes it difficult to work outside the home), and buy things like washing machines and small appliances to improve the quality of their lives.
The other thing their work offers them is protection for their families. One of the women in the cooperative has a daughter who finished high school but had no job prospects and was not ready to get married yet. Her father threatened to sell her in order to get her out of the house and make some money to continue with his lifestyle. It is only the income of his wife and the care from Dawn and her family that have kept this girl from being trafficked. Unfortunately this story is all too common.
We were blessed to be able to meet these women and hear their stories, and we are excited to bring their products to the North American market. To read more of the individual stories of the women, click here.