Friday, November 06, 2009

Women Helping Women.

New this holiday season, the collection of kate spade new york is featuring merchandise hand-crafted by Women for Women International graduates in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The women, who have received a year of rights and vocational skills training through the Women for Women International life changing programs, have been offered employment opportunities by knitting hats, mittens, scarves and dog sweaters for the holiday collection as well as additional items in upcoming seasons for kate spade new york. Plans for the partnership to expand to other countries are already underway.

kate spade new york holiday collection mittens knitted by Bosnian program graduates.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina the slow recovering economy has left women especially vulnerable, as they struggle to earn a living in the face of an unemployment rate reaching over 50 percent.

Eighty-one percent of the women Women for Women International works with in Bosnia and Herzegovina come to us with no jobs. The HAND IN HAND partnership provides us with a crucial opportunity to help Bosnian women rebuild their lives, support their children and ultimately help rebuild their country.

The launch of HAND IN HAND is actually the launch of a new era in Women for Women International's ability to move women survivors of war from victim to survivor to active and productive citizens.

Women for Women International was founded to assist Bosnian women who had survived horrific experiences in the Balkans wars. Hundreds of thousands of women were raped and civilians lost their lives. 16 year later Women for Women International are overjoyed at the opportunity to deliver such concrete opportunities to women who have survived so much and feel that the world has forgotten them.

Here is how the partnership works:

Women enroll in the Women for Women International program and decide to use knitting, a traditional skill in the region that has passed through generations of women, to earn an income.

Women for Women International provides the training in knitting for the women, with creative direction from kate spade new york.

Products are sold to kate spade new york and they pay the women for their work.

This partnership has helped program graduates transform their traditional handcrafts into beautiful winter accessories. Rabija Mujalo, a Bosnian participant and knitter for the patnership says, "I earned nearly as much money knitting at home in my spare time as my son who works full time in a factory.” Rabija’s story is an example of how HAND IN HAND is creating sustained economic self sufficiency.

HAND IN HAND collection will be featured in Elle Magazine’s December edition.

Hand knitted hats, mittens, scarves and dog sweaters are for sale now in kate spade new york stores and online.

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