A Warren business has opened its arms to embrace an international program designed to help disadvantaged artists in nearly 40 countries.
Annamarie Dicembre Miller, owner of Virg-Ann Flower Shop, has reached an agreement with Ten Thousand Villages to sell various artisan wares in her store.
Ten Thousand Villages is one of the largest fair trade organizations in the world, with a goal of improving the livliehood of tens of thousands of artists in 38 different countries.
Times Observer photo by Dean Wells
Lending a hand
Items for sale at Virg-Ann Flower Shop in Warren donates money back to artisans across the globe.
According to Dicembre Miller, a friend who is a manager with Ten Thousand Villages introduced her to the organization.
"I really liked the product," Dicembre Miller said. "So she gave me the number and I contacted them. We started getting some things in in November."
Ten Thousand Villages was founded over 60 years ago by Edna Ruth Byler.
Byler was struck by the overwhelming poverty she witnessed during a trip to Puerto Rico in 1946. Byler took action, believing that she could provide sustainable economic opportunities for artisans in developing countries by creating a marketplace in North America. She began a grassroots campaign among her family and friends in the United States by selling handcrafted products out of the trunk of her car. Byler made a concerted effort to educate her community about the lives of artisans around the world.
Byler worked for 30 years to connect entrepreneurs in developing countries with market opportunities in North America. Ten Thousand Villages has grown to a global network of social entrepreneurs working to empower and provide economic opportunities to artisans in developing countries.
Artisans involved in the organization are from small villages, and mostly women, often single parents.
Items created use natural and recycled materials whenever possible.