You may have noticed mid-year that the project you support had a bit of a name change. Economic Freedom, or as it’s been referred to in the past, Women at Risk, has had another effective and exciting year. The name changed to allow for growth in this area that might include other at-risk groups, but the heart and mission remains the same: we partner with leaders on the ground who provide both economic opportunity and holistic care to at-risk communities.
Many Mocha Club members will recall that our friends, Women at Risk in Ethiopia, provide rehabilitative care and job training to former sex workers. Graduates go on to many employment opportunities, one of which is to create gorgeous scarves through our sister organization, fashionABLE. These scarves were featured this year in places like E!, People Magazine and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The stories behind the scarves continue to be both heartbreaking and beautifully redemptive. The Women at Risk facility saw 14 graduates mid-year, 19 additional women part-way through counseling and training, and a new round of women currently beginning the process of healing after facing a lifetime of unimaginable atrocities.
Women have recently gone on to start small businesses like hair salons, coffee shops, and bakeries. Mocha Club members support women like Hana who shared that she dreams of being a “hard worker, continuing my education once I settled well in my business and teaching the women in prostitution to help them come out of this bad life.” …THANK YOU!
The beautiful Minka Kelly was on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night talking about her new show Almost Human. She also chats about her trip to Africa with Mocha Club, and her support of fashionABLE.
Minka’s partnership with us has been buzzing all over the internet this past week after she shared this “Throwback Thursday” pic on instagram… getting picked up by E! Online and MTV Act. Even Jimmy Fallon’s band leader, Questlove shared some fashionABLE love on instagram last night!
Watch last night’s interview below, then go grab the Genet scarf that Jimmy models!
We began with one scarf (the Bezuayhu, above) and have now grown to feature extensive scarf designs and a leather line! fashionABLE’s original partnership (with Mocha Club partner Women at Risk) has grown from 3 to 30 women who hand-weave scarves. Then, with the leather launch, fashionABLE partners with a manufacturer whose workforce is made up of 40 women out of 70 total employees. With this new partnership, fashionABLE aims to strengthen companies who have fair wage and hiring practices for women.
Pretty amazing what can happen in just 3 years when you invest in a woman. We love this new video fashionABLE is launching today, featuring one of our favorite ladies, (and one of the originals!) Mulu.
And to celebrate, there’s a 30% off SALE going on for the next 3 days over at livefashionABLE.com. On scarves, leather, everything. Yah, you’re gonna want to take advantage of that. 3 years later, the heart of the mission remains true — that through your purchase, you are ABLE to provide opportunity, and a woman is ABLE to have a new choice.
Happy Birthday fashionABLE!
It’s so hard to summarize an experience like our #blogABLE trip into a neat, tidy blog post. It was an incredible, quick, packed, beautiful, exhausting, impacting week. We spent time with the courageous ladies going through rehabilitation at Women at Risk – we sang, we danced, we made guacamole. And we hugged necks and shared stories and drank coffee with the brave heroes at fashionABLE, who taught us how to work a loom and showed us that we don’t have to be defined by our past. We left with the reminder that while we may live an ocean apart, in different time zones and different circumstances, we are more connected than we could have ever imagined.
Below are some posts from the team, as they honestly process and reflect on what we experienced in Ethiopia on their own blogs.
Thanks again for following along with us…
(more posts to be added as they come… also look back at the #blogABLE hashtag on twitter & instagram for pics!)
Gaby @whatsgabycookin // Ethiopia
Jenna @eatliverun // Ethiopia: On The Ground // What Ethiopia Taught Me // I Need Africa
Dana @possessionista // Photos From Ethiopia
Emily @emilymaynard // fashionABLE
Ellie @ellieholcomb // After Ethiopia
Shannan @flowerpatchfg // Ethiopia Days 1&2 // The Lighter Side // What Ethiopia Taught Me // I Need Africa
Hayley @thetinytwig // Don’t You Love Africa? // Eyob
Erin @erinloechner // Dear Ethiopia // Thoughts From Ethiopia
Trina (virtual traveler) @lalalovelyblog // A Decorated Heart
Well, the #blogABLE team has made it safely to Ethiopia and, though a little exhausted, is soaking up every minute! We’re sure you’re curious as to what it is they’re experiencing… the culture, the food, the people… and our projects on the ground! We’ll be asking the bloggers to share their experiences with both the rehabilitation work that Mocha Club funds, as well as the sustainable business that fashionABLE creates.
JOIN US tomorrow afternoon and ask your #blogABLE questions! The lovely Blair (@blairita) will be hosting the chat as our “virtual traveler” — keeping things orderly and organized — and the entire #blogABLE team will be LIVE with us online from Africa!
Tuesday, August 13: 2pm EST // 1pm CST // 11am PST >> twubs.com/blogABLE
And SUPER EXCITING news is you have the chance to win some pretty amazing stuff throughout the chat… like some jewelry from Emily Maynard’s collection, cookbooks from Jenna (“White Jacket Required”) and Gaby (“Absolutely Avocados”), and some fashionABLE swag! Blair will be announcing winners every 10 minutes, and as long as you’ve participated by asking a question here, you’re qualified to win! (and word on the street is there is going to be a special discount code for the fashionABLE store given out during the chat sometime as well!)
Spread the word… and we’ll see you HERE tomorrow afternoon!
Big news today, as our sister company fashionABLE expands their product line to include leather. The first leather partner works with 70 employees, and 40 of them are women that they’re providing excellent opportunity to, with a fair wage & fair working condition.
In light of fashionABLE’s expansion and our mission to continue to create sustainability and economic freedom for as many in Africa as we can, Mocha Club is expanding our Women at Risk project area as well…
When we spent the month of May earlier this year higlighting this project area, we shared how women have and will always be a core focus of our work, as they are the backbone of the African society. While these women may deal with a greater sense of oppression and lack of opportunity, they also possess greater compassion and perseverance to see their continent thrive, as we’ve seen evident with the growth of fashionABLE.
To allow opportunity for future partnerships and this mission to expand, we’re updating the project area title to “economic freedom”. Our goal is to allow a wider variety of partners in the communities we work in across the continent, both men & women, that are focused on empowerment and creating economic freedom.
Is Mocha Club still supporting women? Good question. There are specific needs that women face that fall into each of our categories, and you will continue to see the impact we’re having on these ladies and their communities through each project area… from giving clean water to women and girls in Lizulu, Malwai to providing HIV counseling and nutrition to women at HEKO in Kenya.
And what about Women at Risk? Rest assured, our partnership with Women at Risk in Ethiopia is stronger than ever (the #blogABLE team is visiting them next week!) You will continue to see the same faces and stories in your updates, like Fekerete and Hanna and Mulu, in addition to the new men and women we’re offering empowerment to through sustainability and economic freedom.
Extreme poverty requires holistic solutions, so we work in 5 project areas. Mocha Club is committed to locally developed projects where the community identifies the need and the response, with the end goal of real, sustainable solutions.
We’re less than a week away from the #blogABLE trip! While our team is busy packing and preparing to leave, we thought we’d celebrate by offering the chance to win a FREE scarf! We’ve collaborated with fashionABLE, and are giving away a Meseret scarf to a lucky reader!
Entering is easy… just make sure you’re following all of Mocha Club and fashionABLE’s social media, and then leave us a comment with any international traveling/packing tips! Use the rafflecopter below to qualify for multiple entries.
Giveaway runs through midnight Thursday night, and a winner will be contacted Friday morning. Good luck!
We are so stoked for blogABLE, our collaborative trip with fashionABLE. As we lead up to August, we’ll be introducing each of the team members here on the blog. Check out their sites and follow along on their social to see their first-hand experience in Ethiopia!
Shannan is an ordinary girl who searches for and finds beauty in the everyday, blogging at flower patch farmgirl. She’s the wife of Cory, who thinks all of her jokes are funny, and Mama to three funny shorties, Calvin, Ruby and Silas, who came to them across rivers and oceans. On the heels of a God-sized life-wrecking, Shannan and her family left their dream farmhouse behind to embark on a fresh adventure in the city. They traded quiet days down an idyllic lane for rowdy evenings at the neighborhood park and visits to the county jail, but life remains a heaped-up pile of blessings and Shannan will forever be a Farmgirl at heart.
Connect with Shannan:
Over the next few weeks, we will be introducing each blogger.
Stay tuned and follow along at #blogABLE.
We are so stoked for our blogABLE, our collaborative trip with fashionABLE. As we lead up to August, we’ll be introducing each of the team members here on the blog. Check out their sites and follow along on their social to see their first-hand experience in Ethiopia!
Jenna has been a food and lifestyle blogger at eatliverun.com for the past six years. She is a professional recipe developer and author of White Jacket Required. Jenna lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her new husband, and loves coffee, yoga, & Jesus.
Connect with Jenna:
Over the next few weeks, we will be introducing each blogger.
Stay tuned and follow along at #blogABLE.