Launched in 2010, Homeland Handicrafts is an entirely voluntary organization which focuses on helping artisans develop and promote products, primarily creating jobs for women in rural communities. The nonprofit was established by Timothy Straight, the honorary consul of Finland and Norway in Armenia, who is also a product developer for a women’s cooperative in Sri Lanka.
Homeland Handicrafts helps Armenian artisans create marketable handicraft products by drawing elements from samples of the artisans’ work and providing feedback on colors, design, materials and construction. The products are promoted through Facebook, the Homeland Handicrafts’ website, outdoor festivals and fairs.
Homeland Handicrafts also holds seminars and workshops on various topics, such as calculating prices based on fair wages, creating successful products, customer service and display.
Most of the artisans Homeland Handicrafts works with are found through connections with the Peace Corps and NGOs in distant regions of Armenia, where the organization has made an impact with its work.
And, Homeland Handicrafts progressed in part with the help of AVC volunteers Adrine Akopyan (USA) and Charis Tyrrel (Australia).
Adrine, who is 23 years old, started with Homeland Handicrafts at its inception , and Charis, 55, joined the team a few months later. Adrine and Charis “helped get us on our feet, and we are off and running because of their creativity, their vision and their hard work.,” stated Tim Straight.
Homeland Handicrafts: another AVC volunteer placement site