Prosperity Candle works with women in and from distressed parts of the world to help them rebuild their lives through the simple craft of candle-making. We go where we are needed most.
To complement our international work, we began working in 2010 with women refugees who had been resettled from Burma and Bhutan in our neighboring town of West Springfield. These women have been recently relocated and for most of them, working with Prosperity Candle was their first job. More than half of the women we work with do not speak English well enough to work anywhere else.
These women produce a large number of our candles now, carefully pouring wax and trimming wicks, but also support our product packaging and fulfillment as well.
In March 2009, we partnered with Women for Women International to launch a year-long pilot project in Iraq. We started by training their staff, who subsequently taught our first “chandler-entrepreneurs”. They returned to Baghdad to field-test the kits and become our trainers for 50 more women entrepreneurs.
Throughout the pilot, these women have dedicated themselves to learning the art of the chandler (candle-maker). Attending training workshops and practicing at home, they have acquired skills to make high quality candles for local and export markets. In April 2010, we shipped the first Prosperity Candles for sale in the U.S. We were so pleased to launch our beautiful, high quality pillar candles handmade by mothers and daughters of Iraq in the spring of 2010 for Mother’s Day.
We are currently in the early stages of planning for our expansion into Haiti. We plan to begin building up our candle-making operations, finding local partners, and training women in candle-making and basic business skills in 2012. You should see candles from Haiti for sale by 2013! To read more about our plans in Haiti, take a look at our blog.
In the future, we plan to expand our candle-making model with women in Rwanda and Afghanistan. In the interim, however, we have decided to team up with organizations that are empowering people in distressed parts of the world through the creation of high quality consumer products. We always prioritize working with fair trade, Green America and B Corp certified organizations to make sure that each gift is changing a life. In our current collection, we are changing people’s lives – with an emphasis on women – in Rwanda, Haiti, Afghanistan, Ghana, Vietnam, Kenya, Congo and Chicago.
Thank you to SERRV International, Divine Chocolate, Equal Exchange, Beeline, Zardozi, Arghand, Sweet Beginnings, and Dreambeam for your good work. We are happy to be supporting it!