Mandy Campbell was on an Elim mission trip to Honduras when she had an idea for beating poverty.
Here she tells Direction Magazine how her Shop With Integrity project has taken off.
Shop With Integrity is a project of Elim International Missions, which has ethical trading at its heart.
The vision was conceived in 2007, when I went on a mission trip to Honduras. At the airport in the capital city, Tegucigalpa, I visited a shop which sold crafts and gifts made by local women who had been victims of human exploitation.
Following discussions at our staff meeting, it was agreed that we would set up a similar type ‘shop’ here in the UK, but that all the produce would be purchased from projects such as the one in Tegucigalpa.
Shop With Integrity was launched a few months later at The Gathering, and was an im mediate success, with virtually all of the stock first weekend!
Shop With Integrity sells a range of different handicraft products from around the world
Since that time we have had a Shop With Integrity at many of Elim’s events, including Elim Bible Week, Elim Leadership Summit, The Gathering and many of our summer camps.
We have also been represented at ladies’ conferences in many of our Elim churches. The project has proved so popular that in November 2014 we began to launch it in some of our local Elim churches.
The primary aim of Shop With Integrity is to support local businesses in low and lower middle-income countries. All of the goods sold through Shop With Integrity are therefore ethically sourced, and are produced by local artisans.
Mandy Campbell had the idea on an Elim mission trip
The businesses we buy from provide viable employment for some of the most vulnerable people in society. By buying the goods we help to break the cycle of poverty which fuels human trafficking and the exploitation of men, women and children.
As Christians, we have a responsibility to fight injustice and oppression – Mandy Campbell
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, people trafficking is the fastest growing means by which people are enslaved, the fastest growing international crime, and one of the largest sources of income for organised crime.
As Christians, we have a responsibility to fight injustice and oppression.
I believe the Bible shows this in Scriptures such as James 4:5: “Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.”
And Proverbs 13:23 says, “A poor person’s land might produce much food, but it is unjustly swept away.”
While Proverbs 31:8-9 adds, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate.
Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.”
In order to ensure that we are buying from suppliers who share our vision and value, our missionaries assist the projects.
We are always looking for projects in the Third World and developing countries which are providing valuable income for some of the most disadvantaged.
We buy jewellery in Nepal from women who have been sexually exploited, silk goods from a project in Cambodia which employs victims of land mines, soft toys from India, made by those who lost homes and livelihoods following the Boxing Day Tsunami and woven baskets from women in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who are victims of multiple rape.
An exciting development for Shop With Integrity has been the setting up of our Be Free Centre in Cambodia. Here women who have backgrounds of abuse and exploitation come into a programme of healing, mentoring and discipling, and are taught skills in craft, producing beautiful goods which are then sold through Elim Missions.
We would love you to partner with us by having one of our ‘shops’ in your church:
You could sell our goods at your ladies’ events, fun days, social events, Christmas, Easter, summer fairs, or simply have the shop set up inside your church building over a period of time.
Elim Missions will supply all the stock, and this will be posted out to you in a Shop With Integrity box from our central office in Malvern.
The stock will be sent to you on a sale-or-return basis.
The stock you receive will be priced and packaged.