BATON ROUGE, LA (BRPROUD) – Nestled in the heart of Mid-City you will find The Hope Shop. The quaint store offering handmade clothing, jewelry and handcrafted products.
It all started with a missions trip to Costa Rica, ending with an eye-opening experience.
“That’s how I got exposed to the indigenous people group that we work with now. And I really learned of the challenges that the women in the community face, the lack of opportunity that they have for income and education, and just felt this pull on my heart that it was something that I was supposed to play a role in,” Gardner said.
At 21 years old, Rebecca Gardner founded Hands Producing Hope, a global organization providing education and job training for women in low-income countries.
“We have the artesian programs, we have an adult literacy school, we have a maternal health education program. So that way we are in a really well-rounded way helping the community,” said Gardner.
Not only are these women gaining life skills, the consumer is also benefiting.
“The consumer knows that not only was their good made fairly, under good working conditions, they’re paying well above fair wage, very flexible work time, they are often able to work from home and care for children. But they also know that the items that they are buying are also supporting these educational programs.”
Over the years, Hands Producing Hope has grown tremendously.
“We have three graduating classes that we’ve gotten to celebrate and talk to and hear how they’ve been impacted. From 30 year old’s up to 70 year old’s learning to read and write for the first time.”
Last year, Gardner opened a storefront here in Baton Rouge brining that global impact back home.
“With the shop, we are able to partner with, I think we have 15 other brands that have their own programs all around the world helping women coming out of trafficking, addiction in the U.S., a wide range of things. So you’re able to buy those goods, and support those organizations and in turn when you’re buying through us, you’re also supporting our programs.”
The store offers items from all over the world, producing a little hope with a big impact.