In a gentle way, you can shake the world. ~Gandhi
  • Posted on: 16 December 2014
  • By: Buy the change

The board of the Buy The Change Foundation has announced the recipients of their 2014 Grassroots Grants Program. 

The Grant Program aims to eliminate obstacles to business and family success for artisans and social organizations in developing countries. The goal is to help artisans and groups overcome any barriers that may keep them from being successful in building strong businesses, earning ongoing sustainable income or continuing to serve their communities in a positive way.

Funds will be distributed by the end of 2014!  

We are sending all of you a great big virtual HIGH FIVE because your purchases made these grants possible!!!!

Take a look at this:

Furniture and storage cabinets for a women’s sewing cooperative in India so they don’t have to work on the damp ground anymore,

Equipment that will increase production and safety for a metal workshop in Cambodia,

An expanded workshop that will keep artisans out of the sun and rain in Cambodia,

Water filters for 17 families in Guatemala,

Sewing machines for a group of women in Uganda who are trying to leave prostitution and create a new way to support their families,

A sewing machine for an orphanage in Haiti which will allow the house mother to sew clothing for the children and start a small business to earn additional funds,

A concrete floor to replace the dirt floor in the kitchen at a children’s feeding center in Haiti where they feed 150+ children every day,


YES! YES! YES!  Happy Clap, High Five, Fist Bump and Woot Woot!

This is truly living proof that you can change the world through buying with purpose.


Keep reading to get to know each of the grant recipients a little better….


#1 Kalpana Mondal lives in Bawali, a small village outside of Kolkata, India. She is a team leader for a sewing cooperative called Astral Exports. They make Recycled Sari products for Buy The Change. The group of women who make up the cooperative meet at her home weekly to sew together, turn in completed items and receive new orders.

Many women walk for long distances to get to the meetings each week. Rain or shine, they work together on a covered patio attached to Kalpana’s home. A home in this village is about 12’ x 12’ so working inside is not an option.

Kalpana applied for a grant to cover several items which will make their work easier including; a large table and chairs so the sewing group will no longer have to work on the ground, a new sewing machine, a storage cabinet for extra materials, an iron, and mats to cover the floor during rainy season.

BTCF was able to fund her entire request!


#2 Bobita Gupta also lives in Bawali Village and works with Astral Exports. She sews from home and in addition to creating recycled sari blankets is in charge of quality control for the group. The women take great pride in their work and always quality check every piece before it is sent out.

Bobita applied for a grant to cover a large wooden table to spread the blankets on for quality review, a sewing machine for sewing sari fabric together before hand quilting and an iron.

These items will make her work easier and higher quality.

BTCF was able to fund her entire request for furniture and equipment!

#3 Chenla and Reaksmey’s Metal Workshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This family run workshop is where many of the Recycled Bombshell Jewelry pieces are made for Buy The Change. The artisans use the remnants of war; bullet casings and rocket/bomb casing which are everywhere in the ground and riverbeds in Cambodia, to create beautiful jewelry pieces. 

The group asked for safer torch equipment to be used to melt the recycled brass into bars and a gas powered mangle (flattening) machine. They are currently using a hand cranked machine which can take hours to flatten one bar of brass into a thin sheet. The pendants and earrings are cut from these sheets.

New equipment will make their workshop safer and greatly increase their production capacity. This will increase income and quality of life for the entire family.

BTCF was able to fund their entire request!



#4 Chantha and Thearney’s Metal workshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This is another family run metal workshop that is currently making Recycled Bombshell jewelry for Buy The Change. The family in charge of this workshop lives with their two children behind the shop. The workshop fills the majority of the space and the polishing machines must be moved outside each day. The hot sun in the summer and constant rain during the rainy season make it very difficult for them to work.

They have requested funding to add a raised floor and cover to the area where the polishing machines are used. These changes will greatly increase the safety of the workshop by moving electrical equipment away from the wet ground and protecting workers from the sun and rain. This will increase production and income.

BTCF was able to fund their entire request!



#5 Qato O’ib is a cooperative of Maya women living in Solola, Guatemala. The women are master weavers and embroiderers and also sew many types of bags. They are home based artisans who work between caring for their homes and families. The children are often ill because the water is not clean enough to drink.

This group applied for a grant to fund most of the cost of supplying water filters to the homes of each of the 17 members of the cooperative. They will each be paying a portion of the cost with money earned from the handiwork they create and sell. When the children are ill, the mothers cannot work. With filters to assure clean drinking water this will no longer be an issue.

BTCF was able to fund their entire request!



#6 Jinjs Girls are a group of women in Uganda who have previously worked in prostitution due to lack of any other options. They are working very hard to change this and have started a sewing cooperative. The problem they have is they are currently sharing one sewing machine which severely limits the number of items they can make to sell.

They requested funding to purchase additional sewing machines. This will allow them to all work at the same time and hugely increase the number of items they can produce for sale at the market. Buy The Change does not currently purchase products from this group but hopefully that can change in the near future.

BTCF was able to fund 3 sewing machines!

#7 New Hope Orphanage in Williamson, Haiti is an amazing place where Arelise (Liza) Toussaint and her husband Edgard care for 16 children. The children are well cared for and happy but the ongoing expense is extensive.

Liza requested a grant to buy a sewing machine and sewing supplies. This would allow her to sew clothing for the children but even more importantly to start a small business and begin earning additional income.

BTCF was able to fund her entire request.



#8 Project Feeding Hope is a feeding center in Montrouis, Haiti that feeds over 150 children, elderly and disabled people every day. They have a team of cooks and volunteers who work daily to keep the operation going. They support many local vendors with ongoing food purchases made with their very limited funds.

The founder of Feeding Hope requested funding to make improvements to their outdoor kitchen. Because they cook over charcoal, having the kitchen outside is necessary but a concrete floor and roof for protection from rain would make a huge difference for the cooks. They currently work and keep supplies outside on the ground.

BTCF was able to fund their entire request!



We are changing the world, one bag, blanket and piece of jewelry at a time!

You will continue to support the Grass Roots Grant Program, every time you shop at Please shop and shop often.

You can also donate directly to the grant program by visiting  BTCF is a registered 501©3 non-profit organization which makes your donation completely tax deductible.

We wish you and yours all the very best during this Holiday Season.


In Gratitude,

Kari and Shanan