Elevat's First Artisans Trip- Spain
I created Elevat because I’m passionate about enabling women in poverty to become self-supporting. My other big passion is travel. I’ve long dreamt of combining the two—with Elevat taking an international trip in support of our artisans. It’s been in my “someday” column for quite a few years.
Recently, a missionary friend from southern Spain contacted me and asked if I could bring an Elevat team to the refugee center where she works to help start a women’s co-op made up mainly of refugees from North Africa. I immediately said YES! I knew that this was exactly what was next for Elevat.
This missionary wants to help the women develop marketable skills so they can create products to be sold locally, in Spain, and in the U.S. She’s currently seeking donations for sewing machines and was looking for a team to teach the women how to sew and make products attractive to the U.S. marketplace.
This is where Elevat comes in. While I can barely sew a stitch, I immediately contacted my friend, Shasta, who is crazy talented and has a heart for women in poverty. When we realized the missionary’s proposed timing for our trip fit exactly in between two other European work trips already on her schedule, we knew God’s hand was in this. The two women to commit next were Elevat’s most trusted volunteers, Deb, our Community Events Coordinator, and Kirsten, our Copywriter and Content Marketer. What would an Elevat trip be without these two hard-working, tender-hearted women? Soon after, Carmen and Tia offered Spanish-language and sewing skills to the group. Finally, my husband wondered if English classes would be useful to the refugee women. The center’s resounding answer was, “YES,” so Trent rounded out our group. Each member understands the personal travel and lodging costs for our 10-day trip will be around $1500. Even though not everyone is sure how they will afford it, they feel confident they are to be on this trip and help make a difference in the lives of these women.
Our daily schedule will consist of 9am prayer with other refugee center workers, teaching sewing projects and jewelry-making from 10am-2pm, enjoying lunch and a siesta in the afternoon, and then returning to the center for English-language classes and childcare from 6-8pm. In the process, we want to teach practical life skills, but we also hope to learn more about these women’s lives and culture. Ultimately, we hope to love on these women as best we can.
If all goes as planned, we will return to the U.S. with numerous sewn items and jewelry to sell on Elevat’s website and at fall pop-up events. In exchange, the refugee women will have money in their pockets and marketable skills to enable them to provide for their families. In the long-term, we hope for an ongoing relationship with these artisans in which Elevat continues to sell items made by this newly formed women's co-op.
As I’ve mentioned many times, God is truly the CEO of Elevat. He’s in charge and things are done in his timing. I always have lots of ideas, but also know they can’t be fully realized until God allows them to become a reality. When he does, he then sends the right people and resources along to help make it so. I get to dream and then be patient to see how God fulfills the vision.
Isn’t this exciting!?! While we can’t take all of you with us on this trip, we would love for you to join us in spirit and participate in this project by praying for us as we prepare and travel. We are offering T-shirts for sale that contribute to our trip fund which boldly proclaim “Love Your Global Neighbor.”
We would be honored if you’d consider partnering with us by donating to this project. Donations can be given online at One Challenge and will be promptly issued a tax-deductible receipt by them. List “Ten 42, project number 830549” where it asks for one-time gifts for projects.