Homeland Development Initiative Foundation April E-News
European Venture Philanthropy Association Features HDIF's Work in Armenia
Venture Philanthropy (VP) is a high-engagement and long-term approach whereby an investor for impact supports a social purpose organization (SPO) to help it maximize its social impact.
Reprinted from EVPA and collaborate4impact.org
Tim Straight founded Homeland Development Initiative Foundation – HDIF with a mission to empower women across Armenia while using traditional handicraft methods, like crochet and felt-making, to create products that have buyers in Germany, Italy, the US and many other countries. Over 230 producers are currently involved in HDIF's work, having an incredible impact on the lives of the people involved.
For example, 45% of their revenue in 2021 came from refugee groups like the one Maral is leading, who, with her group of women, creates amazing felt/embroidered products for HDIF, especially Easter and Christmas ornaments.
Another success story comes from the city of Vardenis where, thanks to HDIF, Lena started her small company making kitchen and home accessories that are very popular in the US. The team has grown to seven people. The women have stable incomes and Lena is now a successful entrepreneur.
Another HDIF producer, Genya from village of Martuni, makes beeswax candles with amazing fragrance. Tourists love to take this product home as souvenirs. Living in one of the poorest regions of Armenia, Genya and her family find this work to be a valuable source of income.
Thanks to funding from the European Union's Collaborate for Impact project, EVPA and Impact Hub Yerevan, these groups are creating an "Impact Fund" in Armenia, which will provide social enterprises like HDIF with flexible, viable options for financing, allowing them to scale up their impact.
EVPA's mission is to enable venture philanthropists and social investors to maximize societal impact through increased resources, collaboration, and expertise. Its membership covers a full range of venture philanthropy and social investment activities including venture philanthropy funds, social investors, grant-making foundations, impact investing funds, private equity firms, professional service firms, philanthropy advisers, banks and business schools.
Introducing HDIF's New Birthright Intern Roza Yeghiazaryan from Nancy, France
HDIF welcomed Roza to the team in late March. She will be volunteering at HDIF for four months, helping out in the shop, making deliveries, counting and packaging products, and learning about the export business. Roza is a graduate student at Université de Lorraine in her hometown of Nancy. Her studies are in foreign languages with an emphasis in international trade. This is Roza's second internship in Armenia. Her first stint was last year at Vosgevaz Winery, where she worked for 6 weeks. As an intern at HDIF, she's interested in learning more about exporting as well as improving her communication skills in English and Armenian with clients and producers. In the future, she would like to create a link between Armenia and her home country to help Armenian companies export products to France.
Rosa is the eldest of five children. Her mother works for a produce company, and her father is a stone mason. She will graduate with a master's degree next year.
This Month's Featured Producer Partner
Manushak Nersisyan of Goghovit Knits
This is Manushak Nersisyan from Goghovit in northern Shirak province. She has established a cottage industry in her hometown, called Goghovit Knits. She and her employees knit sweaters, beanies and more under fair trade conditions with the support of HDIF Armenia. She doesn't let a disability after a botched surgery stop her from contributing to society. Within the HDIF family, she is the creative talent behind our Armenian flag beanies, alphabet sweaters, and other knitted items. Despite being wheelchair-bound for most of her life, Manushak is a wonder woman!
Her work was featured by the World Fair Trade Organization's Fashion Revolution Week that took place from April 18-24. It's an opportunity to profile the people who make clothes and fashion items, the people who must be the focus of the ethical and sustainable fashion movement. This initiative features business models that respect human rights and the environment, promotes handmade and artisanal production techniques, and builds capacities, paying fairly to provide maximum impact.
Around 2 billion informal workers, including artisans who make clothes, are facing grave uncertainties and their livelihood is at risk. Fashion Revolution Week encourages the public to appreciate the clothes in their closets, celebrate their connection with their makers, mend them and make them last longer.
#imadeyourclothes was the Fashion Revolution digital marketing campaign to to bring attention to the people who make our clothes.
The Latest from HDIF-USA
Share the Love 2022 is Huge Success
Share the Love 2022 successfully came to a close in April by raising the goal amount of $9,000for a new, fully equipped kitchen for Varduhi's "Real Tavush B&B." HDIF-USA is grateful to everyone who donated to this campaign and appreciates the support of our efforts to building economic strength in Armenia's rural areas.
Varduhi is a breast cancer survivor and has found inner peace in the mountains of north-eastern Armenia. Although she is retired and living on her pension, Varduhi remained active by establishing a B&B business in 2019.
Even with the barest of essentials, the B&B has welcomed guests from Europe, Russia, and Armenia. Construction work on Varduhi's kitchen is about to begin. HDIF-USA will be back in Armenia in July to report on the finished product.
Share the Love is HDIF-USA's annual fundraising campaign for charitable projects in Armenia. All donations are tax-deductible in the U.S.
We're on Faire.com!
If you are a retailer and interested in purchasing Armenian-made products for your shop, join us on Faire.com to receive competitive wholesale prices. Entry-level retailers will receive $200 in credit and free shipping for one year when you sign up with this link: https://hdifusa.faire.com.
HDIF will be busy with World Fair Trade Day on May 14th. This is is a global celebration held each year on the second Saturday of May. It’s an opportunity to envision a world where trade helps support small-scale farmers, producers, and their families, cultivating healthy and sustainable communities around the world. Later in the month, HDIF will participate in an online B2B fair organized by WFTO Asia.
The move to Impact Hub Yerevan has helped HDIF introduce its products to a wide variety of engaged individuals and groups. Impact Shop by Homeland is also carrying the products of Impact Hub members, including wall hangings, wooden toys, and board games around the themes of climate change, water preservation, and recycling. Tell your family and friends to visit Impact Shop by Homeland on their next visit!!