By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Ripon woman helps Third World micro businesses sell artisan wares
HandleyASK 0379a
Debra Handley displays her hand made purses and jewelry that she sells to help in positive transformation of women’s lives in Third World countries including Uganda, Kenya, and Haiti and even the Philippines. She outlined her missionary effort at the noon meeting of the Ripon Rotary Club. - photo by GLENN KAHL
RIPON - Debra Handley of Ripon is going the extra mile for women she has never met in Third World countries supporting micro business operations that produce handmade products of jewelry, purses and handbags.

She is serving as the regional sales manager for the Trading Hope World Ministry in Colorado supporting the micro businesses throughout the world.   Its mission is to distribute the finished products for the women artisans in places such as Uganda, Kenya, Haiti, India and even the Philippines.

“Through Trading Hope, you can be a catalyst for change in the world by creating hope one purchase at a time,” she said

The goods are available in Ripon at The Tank House Gift Shop in the 100 block of Acacia Avenue, she said and she is currently recruiting college students for part-time work to sell the many items she has in stock.

“Every item is lovingly made by poverty stricken women as a means to support themselves and their families,” she added.  Featured currently are products like Ugandan handmade recycled paper jewelry and purses, Kenyan recycled blown glass, beautiful jewelry from India and hand woven purses and jewelry from the Philippines.

Handley said she started selling the goods in boutiques a year and a half ago and the demand has just exploded in the county and Bay Area communities.

She said that many of the children are orphans and 50 percent of the populations are under the age of 15 due to the ravages of HIV and AIDS.

“We have a village that helps sustain the children so they can grow and be educated,” Handley said.  She explained that the women work six days a week in those countries for $40 a month with some earning as much as $600 a year to survive through the program.

The sales of the jewelry and bags allow the women to move out of one room shacks and into a home while teaching other women how to make jewelry and launch their own micro business.  

There are ladies in the Philippines who have been rescued from the sex trade in that country by making their own jewelry items that are sold through the program, Handley noted.  

“You can make a difference one person at a time,” she told Ripon Rotarians.  She also makes her presentations at church events and had recently set up a booth at Ripon’s Farmers’ Market.

In her brochure there are stories of women who have found better lives through their involvement in the program.  One woman named Eunice lives and works in the outskirts of Nairobi.  By making jewelry she is able to provide for her child and her deceased brother’s two children while ensuring all three children get a good education.

She said she hopes her business grows so that she can employ other women.

Raquel was just another destitute single mom.  Pregnant and abandoned she returned home to her poor village.  But Raquel now has a job making items of her own and through that can give her daughter a future.  She has also found new spiritual life through the local church.

Handley can be reached at or in Ripon at 599.8746.