The story of Beljoy. Told by, the founder of Beljoy, Abby Clevenger.
My husband's family has had relationships in Haiti for over 40 years. He grew up going to Haiti and fell in love with the people. When he came back from a trip in 2014, he felt a strong burden to create opportunities for the Haitian people by providing them jobs and helping them become self sustaining. After talking through this, we both felt God was calling us to help the people there...that's when Beljoy started.
When we started, we really didn't know how things would go or what we were doing! We took a few trips to do research and then I created a small line of jewelry, handbags and stuffed animals. Early on it was very clear that we needed to focus on and perfect one trade. We started with 2 ladies and a year later we were employing 10 full time Haitians with an additional team of 9 women to string jewelry, 6 artisans to make our clay beads, and 4 artisans to make our horn and wood designs.
All of our artisans have stayed with us since they were hired. They genuinely love their jobs and we have worked hard to create a family atmosphere. Creating that type of environment was very important to me, and it's been gratifying to watch them take care of each other.
We have had opportunities to collaborate with other organizations and we continue to be open to this. We love supporting others with a similar vision and believe in the value of teamwork.
I have so many amazing memories, but I think what will always stay with me is the friendships I've created with the people in Haiti. I feel so blessed to be in their lives and love seeing the women we employee grow. They have truly changed me and my family and our perspective on life and what's important.
Throughout our journey with Beljoy, we have had a lot of amazing opportunities to help people. We have relationships with many families and children in the villages, which allows us to help with medical, housing and educational needs. As our tagline states, our mission is to restore dignity in the lives of women. To restore their hope and inspire change. We are always seeking ways to add value and bless their lives.
The more we can spread the word of Béljoy, the more lives we can affect. Buy jewelry; change lives. And we don't just change their lives from a monetary perspective. We walk with them at a foundational level to influence and change their trajectory. We seek prayer. More than anything, this business has taught me that God is completely in control. I wake up, seek Him and follow what He's leading me to do- I'm just so thankful I said yes when He asked me to do this.
Comments will be approved before showing up.
A sweet friend recently gave me a life-changing book. Have you ever had a book shake you at the core and make you reconsider your entire life? This was one of those. In Visions of Vocation by Steven Garber he looks at something I have stumbled with for some time now, is it possible to know the world and still love the world?
Over and over he asks, “knowing what I know, what will I do?”.
The Mission Made team was incredibly blessed to be a part of another incredible trip to Haiti alongside our friends at Haiti Awake this past June. Our Executive Director, Kaitlyn Hopfer, wrote about her experience in Haiti and the incredible things that she did on her trip through our Mission Made network.