Womanspace is proud to announce that their nominee, Hannah Warren, age 27, was presented with the Mentorship Award at the YWCA Leader Luncheon on March 7, 2011. Warren is a native of Rockford and, with the support of Rotary International, traveled to India on a photography project. In the city of Maheshwar in the Madhya Pradesh Province, she discover the women weavers she was documenting were very poor and received very little compensation for their hard work. After learning to speak Hindi and becoming friends with these women, Hannah founded Jhoole Weavers, a fair trade cooperative.
From www.jhoole.org: Jhoole is an eco fashion "social enterprise," a non-profit business designed to benefit (rather than exploit) people living in poverty. Those stuck at the bottom of the textile supply chain often live in conditions akin to modern day slavery. Jhoole believes in the power of social enterprise to battle these injustices in direct, tangible ways. Their goal is to alleviate poverty as much as possible by giving good living wages and profit shares to the artisans and field laborers who create products as well as investing in social initiatives that benefit their entire community.
Plans for a new production center at Jhoole are underway. Designed pro-bono by Mike Olson of Rockford's Larson and Darby Group, the center will be as beautiful as it is functional. The new facility will employ 500 women below the poverty line allowing them to send their children to school and achieve upward mobility for their families and communities.
In 2010, Womanspace hosted an art exhibit featuring Warren's photography, greeting cards of her images of Jhoole women, and many scarves and other textiles. This led to an ongoing relationship with Hannah and her organization. Jhoole items are available for purchase in Gallery2Go gift shop at Womanspace.
On Friday, April 8 at 6:00pm, anyone interested in promoting social enterprise can meet this amazing young woman at "An Evening with Hannah" at Mauh-Nah-Tee-See Club in Rockford. Warren will present her story, plus Jhoole fashions, artworks and textiles. Info at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-399-0711. Tickets are $15, plus a goodwill offering toward the new Jhoole training and production facility in Madhya Pradesh, India.