The Others: Trade for Hope Program Brings Goods to Market and Independence to Their Producers

Angels hand-made by women in Kenya.

The Others: Trade For Hope program, The Salvation Army’s international social enterprise, offers people what they wanted more than anything else—a job and the opportunity to provide for themselves and their own families. 

The Others concept builds on the values upon which William and Catherine Booth founded The Salvation Army back in 1865. Working among poor and disadvantaged people—first in the streets of London, and later all over the world—it quickly became clear that the solution to poverty was not found merely in provision to satisfy immediate needs. Rather, it required sustainable work that produced hope for a better future, a pathway to independence and—not least—dignity and pride. Others is one of the ways in which the Army today creates employment opportunities for people who would otherwise be left behind. First formed in Bangladesh in 1997, it has been under the auspices of the Salvation Army's Eastern Territory since 2014. 

Others is a commercial enterprise, where the most important values are those of connecting people across borders to create and share opportunities. 

Behind every beautifully handcrafted Others product is a person from places such as Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan and Moldova whose life is being changed. Here are a few of hundreds of stories of women whose lives are transformed when they are given an opportunity for dignified work through Others Trade for Hope.

Nipa's involvement with Others has allowed her and her family to pay off their loan

Twenty year old Nipa is married with a five-year-old son. “My husband works as a garment worker in the city, which requires him to be away from home and pay rent there.  He can only come home for one week every three months. When my husband was not employed, we had to take a loan to survive. Working with Others has allowed us to pay off our loan, and now I am able to better care for my son. When I am working on Others products, I feel great joy in my heart.” 

"Others has woven a thread of its story into my life and my story is more beautiful because of that."
April Foster
Magdelene welcomes April to her home. Magdalene's work has put her children back in school.

Magdalene found herself on the wrong side of many things in her family and community. Life was far from easy. She had a large family to raise, a sick husband and few skills with which to provide even the basic needs of her family. When Others Trade for Hope began working with women in Magdalene’s village in Kenya, she asked to be taught how to make products from recycled paper. As she started making and selling products, she was able to save money. The first thing she did was get her children back in school. As she began providing for her family, her confidence grew and she began dreaming of bigger things. One dream was for a door for her home to provide security for the family. As Magdalene worked and saved, she was able to purchase a door and invited other women to come to her home to see what she had done. 

Ameena had no income when she first joined Others—now she makes enough to help support her family.

Ameena has been married for 12 years and has two children. She’s been part of the Others program for five years. “It was challenging when I first starting working with Others, because I had a young child. I had no income when I first joined the group. I was training in skills such as embroidery. I now earn enough to help support our family and I have purchased chickens and ducks. I have become very good at sewing and make all the clothes for my family. I am very happy that I have a chance to work.” 

April Foster is Others Trade for Hope director, USA Eastern Territory.


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