11 years ago Amber, Siiri and Ted came together with a shared vision for women artisans from places of conflict to have the opportunity to thrive. As we step into 2020, we want to express boundless gratitude to our community of change-makers who have embraced this mission and welcomed women refugees with compassion and kindness. You are the reason any of this is possible!
For a decade and counting, we are honored to support women refugees resettled to the U.S. with a living wage and meaningful employment as they create a new beginning. Every year we are continually inspired by their courage, strength and resilience after the tremendous hardships and loss they have faced. Yet, here they are supporting a brighter future for their themselves and their families while reaching incredible milestones.
And through the hundreds of wonderful messages you have sent to each candle-maker, they feel supported far beyond our studio. From every corner of the U.S. these expressions of kindness and gratitude flow in each week, sent through the artisan pages on our website. It's not just nice... it's truly amazing.
This year we have so many reasons to celebrate. In the last 6 months we've expanded our studio space by almost a half, adding 9 more pouring tables and two new wax melters to make more candles by hand than ever before. We're still pretty small as candle-makers go, but growing!
We welcomed Shah to our team of Burmese and Congolese artisans. Growing up as a refugee in Thailand, Shah resettled to the U.S. with hopes of a new beginning with peace and security for her two daughters. And Moo Kho's husband Shee passed his citizenship test to become an American citizen. This is a huge milestone given the challenges of learning a new language and navigating a foreign culture as a resettled refugee.
Our partnership with Lauren Conrad and Hannah Skvarla's non-profit The Little Market grew over the last year, enabling more hours of candle-pouring for the artisans in our studio. Their This is About Humanity Candle was an inspired idea to shine a light on the needs of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers, and advocate for the rights of displaced individuals. Through purchases of this candle over $35,000 has been donated to support the needs of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.
We're also grateful to the many businesses and nonprofits that reach out to us each year for custom holiday, event and fundraising gifts that give back. The biggest came in March when Google needed unique gifts for a Women's History Month event. It was quite the crazy week with lots of friends and family pitching in to assemble thousands of branded boxes that included handmade candles, gourmet caramels and freshly roasted coffee.
In terms of new designs, we had a lot of fun creating the Love That Dog candle and entering new territory with our skin moisturizing, 100% natural Massage Candle. Beyond our shores, we're excited by our collaboration with Tara Projects to create the elegant Serenity Candle made with handcrafted, recycled brass. This beautiful candle supports dignified, fair trade employment for artisans in India and brings education and healthcare projects to their communities.
Here in our corner of western Massachusetts, we've seen how lives are transformed when a refugee is given a supportive environment and living wage with which to rebuild her life. Our sunlit studio in a century-old mill building is a cozy home of new beginnings, shared laughter and stories. Each artisan is paving a new beginning for her family, and it is incredible to witness the beautiful dreams that transpire inside and outside our studio. In the last few years, we've celebrated as many have gone to school, earned citizenship, and pursued interests beyond Prosperity Candle.
To everyone who has been there along the way, lifting us up when times were tough and celebrating the milestones, thank you. This special community has blossomed out of your gift-giving, your kind messages to our artisans, and your sharing of our story with those around you. We look forward to continuing to expand our impact in 2020.
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