For the whole of August, we will be donating £1 from each order to a charity and registered NGO called Hope4. They are a charity focused on helping victims facing issues such as human trafficking, extreme poverty and an unjust orphanage system.
Inspired by Joy, founder of Withextraordinarygrace and fellow jeweller, we want to use our platform to raise awareness and support the amazing work of Hope4. We spoke to Joy to find out more about her personal experience with the charity and why she chooses to donate 100% of the profits from her jewellery business.
Who are Hope4?
"Hope4 is ran by founders Chris and Zoe Lomas and their original vision was to help orphans and victims of human trafficking. 17 months in and their mission is growing. Now, they also support families living in poverty, widows, those living with disabilities and Ukrainian refugees. What that looks like practically is they provide basics such as food, clothes and household appliances, as well as emotional support."
"Back in February, Chris and Zoe were sitting at their kitchen table in Moldova when they heard the bombs dropping from Russia into Ukraine. They immediately went to the capital of Moldova and asked how they could help in providing humanitarian aid. Many genuine sincere Moldovans went to show their support by driving to the Ukraine-Moldova border and offered to take traumatised people, almost all of which were women and children, to refugee centres. Hope4 realised if many locals were doing this, then so were the traffickers, and they began to see whole communities disappear. Unfortunately, this is not just a war time issue and orphans are also targeted every year. Chris and Zoe fight endlessly to prevent this and have even shut down a human trafficking ring. To answer why they tirelessly do what they do, is simply out of love for people."
What are your personal experiences with the charity?
"I have been to Moldova twice and to say that it was life-changing is an understatement. You really see poverty and how people and families are trapped in a cycle that is incredibly difficult to break free from. You see families below the poverty line desperately trying to create a life for themselves but are unable to do so due to their circumstances.
This year we visited one of the Ukrainian refugee camps as they needed suitcases. Here we met the Ukrainian ambassador's wife, which was completely unexpected and to see her stand up in strength and love to encourage her people was inspiring. She is such a woman of strength and I really respect that.
There are so many stories to share, I don't know which ones to say but I will mention Liuba. Simply put, she is one incredible woman. Liuba has set up centres in her local region of Gagauzia to support orphans, those with disabilities and women who have been sexually and domestically abused. This amazing woman organised a country-wide talent show and it was the most humbling experience for us who were visiting to watch. I never thought I would be so entertained by a kids show. Simply knowing these children and performers have had to overcome lifelong rejection and trauma in their lives, to be able to perform with such strength, unity, joy and not giving up on their dreams was incredibly emotional for me to witness. Liuba also hosts a yearly summer camp for kids and requested materials for crafts and jewellery making and immediately I knew I could help.I can't wait to see what the children make with their talents."
How will jewellery making help this community?
"I genuinely believe that creativity is an outlet that everyone should have. It is a way for people to express themselves and create something they are proud of. For my trip, I made some simple hooped earrings to give to people that I'd meet. My hope was for them to feel beautiful and to know that they are not forgotten. I also wanted to encourage others because art and crafting has such a lasting effect on people. "
Tell us your jewellery making journey.
"I used to help out with the work of Chris and Zoe when they were based in the UK and their charity was a food bank, formally called Reach My Street. I have seen the integrity and love that they have for the local community, so when they decided to move to Moldova, I wanted to do anything I could to continue supporting their work. That was when I started my brand Withextraordinarygrace and decided to fundraise for them. I make handmade jewellery and I fell into beading when I saw some old necklaces and I thought "Hey I can make something new from this!". So that's how I began my whole up-cycling and zero waste thinking. Making jewellery allows me to use my strengths and gifts in a different way outside of my full-time job as a PhD researcher. It also allows me to fundraise and raise awareness by talking to more people. This is why I love to attend markets because yes, it allows me to raise more money but also, I get to talk to people and share my personal stories with them. "
Talking with Joy and hearing her stories was an eye-opening and heart-breaking experience yet through the cracks there was hope. Knowing amazing people like Chris and Zoe are doing everything they can to build a brighter future for so many people is truly heartwarming.
After learning more about this crisis we knew we wanted to do our part. £1 from each order will be donated to Hope4 for the whole month of August. We will also continue to use our platform to raise awareness.
If you are looking to donate directly to the cause Hope4 has set up a great initiative called Cost of a Coffee, where you can send as little as £3 per month (the cost of a coffee) to help support vulnerable people in Moldova. Click here to donate.
From left to right: Janet, Joy, Zoe and Chris.