A few weeks ago, I was invited to an exhibit produced by Wishwas, a New York City based not-for-profit. Wishwas was founded in 2010 as a response to a growing number of immigrant women in Queens who lacked access to capital and sustainable work; at the same time, the economic recession exacerbated their isolation and vulnerability, leaving them without a safety net. The project began in a donated space from the Kew Gardens Community Center. There, Wishwas built a community of women working towards fair trade, financial support, and self-empowerment. Through weekly meetings, the women develop relationships, communication skills, and training with the goal of taking control of their livelihoods by finding work or starting their own business. Wishwas provides assistance with vocational skills training, micro-loans, mentors, workshops, and legal and health services as they foster the women in their chosen futures.
The Wishwas Board of Directors and volunteers are a dynamic and passionate group, but they can always use help. Designers can both help and benefit by commissioning work. Wishwas is currently working with fair trade organizations like HandCrafting Justice to custom create designs and products. If you'd like to request work to be done email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteers for marketing, community outreach, program coordination, event organization, and clerical work are always needed and welcome. They also accept donations of sewing materials, equipment, and fabric. If you have the skills, time, or passion to help, contact email@example.com with your information or leave a reply here. If you'd like to make a monetary donation, you can do that on their website.
I'm grateful I now know about this awesome organization and I'm passing that knowledge on to you. Wishwas identified a need in the community and addressed it not with charity, but with education and empowerment. This is exactly the kind of community-based, grassroots, cooperative movement women and society need. I hope you will consider volunteering or donating to their special cause.
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