In honor of International Women’s Day coming up on the 8th, we are featuring a few of the women artisan groups that we work with at Global Exchange. Women make up a large part of the artisans involved in the Fair Trade world and largely benefit from the positive impacts that Fair Trade brings. When trying to figure out which groups to feature, we had a lot to choose from so it was hard to decide.

So, to narrow it down, we picked an item that has been catching our eye lately. A GX store staffer has been waiting for a birthday to come up so she can give someone this Saori wallet. These wallets are a product of the Saori Group, a project started by Mitsuo Kawestco, the founder of the Buddhist Maya Kotamee Foundation. The project came about in the aftermath of the tsunami that rocked Thailand in December 2004 in hopes to help survivors who saw their lives devastated by the tragic event. The Saori Group has sought to be a healing environment for the victims helping the cope through providing an atmosphere where they can pick up where the tsunami left off and reconnect with their communities.

The Saori Group has helped over 150 women since its inception. The women come together to craft wonderfully colorful crafts out of leftover material ranging from thread from fabric manufacturers to scraps of plastic. With this leftover material, they are able to weave and bring life to new crafts. It is somewhat symbolic of their lives where they are picking up pieces from the past and giving it a new path. The women of the Saori Project have been empowered because they are able to provide an new life for themselves and start anew.