Our goal is to help empower the people in the villages of Kenya and hopefully do the same in other Third World nations someday. Using the proceeds of the sales of VillageVendors.com, we aim to invest in a co-op establishment that will offer life-skills training and business incubation support.
Imagine yourself as an orphan, a refugee, or a victim of domestic viiolence. Then imagine you are in a third world village, where is no government social service or support of any kind. There are many people in such dire situations like these are stuck with no way out in many of these villages, and we hope to do something to help and provide a way out.
We hope to empower orphans, refugees, domestic abuse victims, and others of similar plight by training and equipping them with the valuable skills of making the handicrafts similar to those that we offer on our online store. They can then produce the arts and crafts to sell and make a living, lift them out of poverty and be self-reliant. Those who have the desire to skills to teach can in turn teach the new-comers the same skills and keep the cycle going and pray that the newcomers will become less and less someday.
For many of us who live and work in one of (if not) the strongest economy on earth, we don't even seriously think about starting a business because we earn sufficient income working for our employers to maintain a comfortable living standard. By contrast, the high unemployment rate in many Third World countries leave virtually no opportunity for so many to find work.
It is truly amazing to see how enterpreneurial human beings can be when placed in such economic conditions. Educated or not, people posses the most basic common sense in business - buy low, sell high. This is evident everywhere we went in Kenya, on the street, alleys, and public markets. The real challenge for many, especially for the orphans, refugees, and domestic abuse victims, is to get out of their dead-end situations first and climb their way to small business ownership - like selling roasted maiz at road intersections, produce, hand-made furnitures, arts and crafts. We've even ran into orphaned children roaming at outdoor market palces selling nuts or candies! They're no different from our own children selling lemonade in our front yards, except they're orphans.
We recognize that those who will walk in through the doors of the co-op compound are aspiring entrepreneurs. So upon acquiring the life-skills through training, they will need further help in starting their businesses to be truly self-sustaining. Therefore, it makes sense to also offer business incubation service for these budding stars.
It is our goal to use the funds from VillageVendors.com operations to provide business start-up guidance and zero-interest capital loans to the business-minded artists in the co-op. As part of the loan payback, we would encourage them to also help with operating the co-op compounds by either serving as instructors, grounds-keepers, nannies, cooks, etc.
Our vision for this co-op is also to serve as temporary housing for those who come to learn and make a commitment to becoming self-reliant. But this is all in the future and a dream. Thank you for reading through all of these and thank you for supporting our mission.