Woven baskets from Rwanda, bracelets from cow bones, placemats and scarves made from material left over from Asian saris. It was an international shopping experience for more than 40 members of Greenwood Catholic Women’s Club who gathered Wednesday, Feb. 21, to hear a talk on survivor-made goods.
Headlining the evening was Jane Mosbacher Morris, founder and CEO of To the Market, which provides economic empowerment for survivors of abuse, conflict and disease.
The granddaughter of Marion Clark, who is a member of GCWC and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Morris detailed her journey from working in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Counterterrorism to her formation of a company that generates opportunities for artisans worldwide to sell their goods internationally.
“”I never thought I’d be in retail,” said Morris. “National security was my life.”
The turning point was her interaction with women who had been abused, who had no means of earning a livelihood, who were the victims of war.
Feeling compelled to help these women, Morris determined to provide them opportunities to find work that would afford them dignity and economic income.
Through her interaction with artisans from Africa to Asia and the Americas, Morris said she has been inspired by “how incredible the human spirit is when given a second chance.”
She spoke of how artisans have recycled oil drums to hammer out crosses for sale. She showed necklaces and bracelets made of beads created from rolled strips of paper. Wooden spoons were carved by craftsmen, and leather goods reflected the creativity of artisans from around the world.
As the women at Our Lady of Lourdes Church shopped for items from an international display, they came away with the knowledge that their purchases were helping to economically empower vulnerable communities.
To the Market and its mission of empowerment for the disadvantaged have been featured in such media as Elle, People, Glamour, and on Fox and Friends.
Morris holds a bachelor of science in foreign service from Georgetown University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.
For more on Morris’ survivor-made goods initiative, visit www.tothemarket.com.