This article was originally published on weidknecht.com.
Check out these gorgeous batiked scarves I found at The GO Exchange! I will be wearing these over and over. They are fabulous! They have a wonderful selection of apparel, accessories, jewelry, footwear, and even home decor like pillows and matching mom-and-child aprons. The GO Exchange is a one-stop-shop when it comes to finding the perfect present for everyone.
But it’s how these items are crafted that makes them worthy of being placed under the Christmas tree. All of the unique products on The GO Exchange website are handmade, providing men and women in Haiti and East Africa with living-wage jobs that help them provide for their children. Also, 100% of profits from this global boutique go toward the care of orphaned and abandoned children.
Here’s the story behind these beautiful scarves, as told by IV Whitman. He and his wife are two of the founders of The GO Exchange.
“Located in Jinja, Uganda, at the source of the Nile River is Fount of Mercy. Founded by Tara Hawks Nyanga, who worked as a costume designer for television, film and Broadway, Fount of Mercy helps local communities care for their own orphaned and vulnerable children. One way they do this is by crafting beautiful hand-batiked scarves for The GO Exchange.
The process for making these scarves is simple, yet ancient, going all the way back to fourth century BC Egypt. The process at Fount of Mercy has not changed too much. The pattern of each scarf is hand-painted with a wax resist using templates made from sheets of cut-out x-ray film. Then the material is placed in a dye bath and set aside to cool so the wax resist can be chipped away. The final step after the scarf has dried in the sun is ironing out the wrinkles and folding the scarf into a small package for shipment to the US.
One woman in particular stood out to me. Her name is Gladys. Each day, Gladys’ job is to iron every scarf to perfection. As I walked up and said hello, she looked at me, smiled, and began to express her gratitude. She was so thankful and happy to be working, earning a living and providing for her family. All because she was ironing scarves. Something we may think isn’t a big deal in the States. But in Uganda it can make all the difference.”