The Original Santa Clause Abolished Slavery


Santa Clause it seems is the original abolitionist!  I love that and thought I’d share this encouraging story hoping you’ll better understand how he fought for women and why we should too.

The true story begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara.  At the time, the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey.  His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young.  So Nicholas himself was an orphan.  Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering.  He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man.  Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

Now this is the part of his story that is the greatest idea ever.  People tell of how Nicholas knew of a poor man with three daughters.  In those days, a young woman’s father had to offer prospective husbands something of value—a dowry.  The larger the dowry, the better the chance that a young woman would find a good husband.  Without a dowry, a woman was unlikely to marry. This poor man’s daughters, without dowries, were therefore destined to be sold into slavery.  Mysteriously, on three different occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home-providing the needed dowries.


Even today, there are women around the world who are considered worthless without a dowry. Dowries and the different traditions held by Jewish and Arab cultures, as well as other indigenous tribes with whom I am familiar, are absolutely necessary to guarantee a good match. And in India, there are still many brides who are burned when their dowries are not sufficient. The tradition of bridal showers actually have their roots in the traditional dowry.

So as I think of Saint Nicholas, or Santa Clause as many call him, I remember how he loved women well. I also think of the women around the world in need of dowries, and orphans in need of the love of a mother and father.  Let’s all remember how, “Yes, Virginia – there is a Santa Clause” and sometimes, it looks like you and me! So as we celebrate with all of those we love, lets remember the needs of so many who do not have the love and  security of a home, food or loved ones.  Christmas can come to them as well as we dream of a better life for them.

Human Rights Is always Right

whrdEvery year since 1948 the world acknowledges December 10th as Human Rights Day. This is a day to reflect on the commitment to ensure all human beings, whatever their nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. Bajalia believes that all humans are equally entitled to human rights without discrimination. These rights are all interrelated, interdependent and indivisible.

unspecified-5Bajalia is committed to upholding the obligation of human rights for women. When it comes to halting human rights violations against women, market creation, and artisan business growth are all game changers. 90% of our artisan workforce is composed of women. There is a direct correlation between more jobs for women and less violence against them.

At Bajalia, we see how helping our women artisans develop certain skills,  like jewelry making, truly changes lives. According to the U.S. Department of State, more jobs for women are the key to less violence because:
  • When the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in a country goes down, violence to women increases.
  • Terrorist cells do not exist in villages where women are being employed and educated.
  • Women reinvest 90% of their income in their families and communities.
The UN says, “We believe that investing in adolescent girls is critical to ending global poverty. Addressing the needs of women and ensuring their rights is critical to the future of local communities, nations and the entire world.” Additional key statistics about women are as follows:
  • Women comprise more than half the world’s population.
  • Of the world’s 1.3 billion poor people, it is estimated that nearly 70 percent are women.
  • Between 75 and 80 percent of the world’s 27 million refugees are women and children.
  • Of the world’s nearly one billion illiterate adults, two-thirds are women.
  • Two-thirds of the 130 million children worldwide who are not in school are girls.
  • Women are more likely to use their profits to hire the poor and hire other women.
Bajalia mission is to give voice to women everywhere whose experiences go unnoticed and whose words go unheard. Our hope is to involve others, both consumers and retailers, by telling the stories of women entrepreneurs around the world. Together, we can make a difference. Together we can see true, sustainable change occur as women are empowered and human rights are protected.

Today make an investment to empower women by uplifting human rights around the world at!

World’s AIDS Day 2016 Reflection

colorfulWorld AIDS Day is a time to reflect on the millions of women and children who have been impacted by HIV and AIDS worldwide. December 1st is a day to bring awareness of the AIDS pandemic and spread consciousness around prevention efforts.

Bajalia helps women in regions plagued with the AIDS by offering job opportunities to be able to afford healthcare to improve their quality of life. Access to affordable healthcare helps prevent the spread of HIV/AIDs.

Sub-Saharan Africa continues to still be the most affected region affected by HIV/AIDS.  Hats off to Western Europe and United States for their efforts in continuing to decrease numbers of new cases of HIV/AIDs. This decrease is largely due to the access to affordable healthcare. Bajalia is currently  working on the following projects in Sub-Saharan Africa to help curtail the spread of AIDS and manage the AIDS epidemic through job opportunities. Bajalia is currently working with 2 AIDS projects now: Wola Nani and Uganda. 


Wola Nani Recycled Paper Jewelry 

Wola Nani– Wola Nani is a Xhosa word meaning “we embrace and develop one another” The mission of Wola Nani is to enhance the capacity of the HIV and AIDS sector through research, advocacy, training and resources, to more effectively and developmentally meet key challenges to improve the wellbeing of communities and people living with HIV and AIDS. The craft project has been in operation for more than 15 years and has over 40 crafters who earn a sustainable weekly income. Income earned by crafters allows them to provide shelter, food, clothing and education for their children. Wola Nani’s crafters produce recycled paper maiché bowls, recycled paper jewelry, recycled magazine mirrors, beadwork, paper lampshades and tealight candles holders.


Uganda Paper Bead Necklaces

Uganda – In this region the AIDS epidemic claims the lives of many parents especially women, leaving the children to be cared for by family.  Bead necklaces and jewelry making helps women and children in the area earn a livable wage in an area made up of  90% unemployment.  This group works in the outlying villages with groups of women that have been organized into self-help groups, making one-of-a-kind paper bead necklaces to help support themselves. In addition, they are assisted with farming and starting new micro-enterprises that raise their standard of living.

Bajalia is especially passionate about raising AIDS awareness as this disease continues to be an epidemic in many regions outside of Sub-Saharan Africa that we serve. Not only is the disease taking over entire villages, the cost to treat people is astronomical. Despite much improvement in care of the disease, AIDS is still one the biggest global public health crisis in recorded history. Many are living with HIV and AIDS virus due to vast medical advancement in antiretroviral treatment. AIDS epidemic still claims an estimated 2 million lives globally each year.

african-paper-beadsToday, Bajalia will be donating a 100% of profits of our paper bead necklaces made in Uganda to continue to support AIDS initiatives  in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. We are giving a gift to everyone who supports this initiative by offering a BOGO for this special offer + 50% on paper bead necklaces.  

Click here to get special offer: BOGO



Giving a Voice to Women Through Jobs

dsc00683Everything changes when women get a voice through a job. How do I know, because it happened to me.  As a CEO of Bajalia International Group, giving women a voice through a job started to become a passion out of my own story.  I realized at the age of 14 that I could only forge a future for myself if I had my own income and could make my own decisions about marriage and other life events. My first marriage proposal came at the age of 15, so had I not seen the potential of my own earnings. I’m not sure I could have overcome the pressure of my “Big Fat Arab Family” to make a choice of one of the suitors.  I’m horrified to think of what I would have chosen as a life mate at that age and life stage. Also, what could happen to young girls we work with like the ones pictured here.

My mother, who was forced to drop out of school to marry my father, was a catalyst in giving me a voice in this decision.

img_0267She wanted to see me have a chance that she was not afforded. Even though she eventually got to have a voice, she never got a choice as to when she could own her voice. I was able to pursue a career which eventually led me overseas to invest in the lives of women.  I think of the women we work with in various countries and see them make great decisions for themselves.  Through employment these women now have an opportunity to think differently.  They have choices for the first time in their lives to keep their daughters in school, to have access to medical care, and to become catalysts for change in their own community. 

Yes, jobs change everything for women and that we know for sure!  Join us in helping give women a voice by purchasing handcrafted necklaces by global women artisans at 50% off with this code NECKLACES50

Bajalia Celebrates Women’s Entrepreneurship Day 2016


Today, we celebrate women in business around the world for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day! This is a day for us to reflect on all the women around the world that Bajalia has empowered to strive for more in their business, including our own CEO who started Bajalia to help empower women globally through jobs. Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) is a day on which the work of women entrepreneurs is observed, discussed, and celebrated, held on the nineteenth of November of each year.

Described by Fortune Magazine as “a global movement to celebrate and support female founders and shed light on some of their challenges.” Forbes Magazine wrote that the intention was also “to mobilize a global network of female business owners, entrepreneurs and change makers who support and empower this community of women entrepreneurs and their businesses.”

To commemorate this day, we spotlight our artisan Shabina. She is an experienced artisan who has been in the handcrafted jewelry business with her family for many generations. The opportunity to make more jewelry through Bajalia’s distribution channels provides many jobs for her family and women in her village of Rakanpur. Here is a picture of the Shabina and the women artisans in her village. Shabina is pictured on the left next to Bajalia CEO Debbie Farah.


The artisan work that is done in the village of Rakanpur is passed down from generation to generation to support the families of the village. “My family has been in the jewelry business for many generations, it is the only work for women in my village”. Shabina said. Providing opportunities to women in emerging markets is Bajalia’s mission. Shabina adds, “We need more work to help more women care for themselves”. The more distribution opportunities the more jobs that Bajalia can offer to women in the village of Rakanpur. Bajalia looks forward to the day when these great ladies will not have to worry if work will be available for them and their families to survive.

We celebrate Sabina and all of our women like her for working to change the world. We love to keep giving Shabina and the women in her village opportunities by selling her handcrafted items available on Help empower women in business. Every purchase made will help women artisans around the world. cropped-dsc_0631.jpg


Artisan Spotlight-Humera


Today, we spotlight our artisan Humera. She is a young woman who is taking charge of her life developing products for Bajalia with being co-owner of a family business alongside her twin sister and younger brother. Before increasing her sales through Bajalia, Humera did not know that there were ways to live her dream of going to college. Most recently Humera and her artisans produced our Beaded Rose Bud- Stretch Bracelet sold exclusively on Below is a picture of Humera with her producing team which includes her mother and sister.


According to Humera, working with Bajalia is giving her the ability to get an education without borrowing money. She loves that fact that she now has ownership of her destiny through the new business relationship with Bajalia. “By making jewelry, I am not dependent on anyone else. I have my own account. It’s important because we can’t move forward without education. For business, education is essential.” says Humera.

When Humera is not working on her own business during slow cycles, she and her sister are tutors helping to educate other young girls in her village. She and her sister want to be examples to other young girls that they too can go to college and further their education and marry later so she can grow her business first.dsc01772Hats off to Humera, for living her dreams and soaring high with Bajalia. Today, we spotlight Humera for her courage to live her dreams and pay it forward no matter the challenges.  You can still purchase her rose bracelet at  and it is now on clearancebajalia-punya-rose-bud-stretch-bracelet-d-2016052414572424478052_649

Fair Trade Defined Versus Bajalia

October is Fair Trade Month and there are numerous celebrations going on around the world. We want to take a minute to educate our Bajalia tribe on exactly What is Fair Trade and How Bajalia Plays in the Fair Trade Space.


According to the World Fair Trade Organization, Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency, and respect that seeks greater equity in international trade. The idea behind Fair Trade is about communicating standards and accepting behaviors for making goods to be sold in the global market. Fair Trade helps producers in emerging economies understand what is expected of them as they engage in business throughout the world. Certifications and accessibility varies country to country. At Bajalia, we celebrate all of our partners who are embracing Fair Trade and continue to work to help equalize the playing field throughout the world. However, we are concerned about how slow the process is moving.


Bajalia exercises Fair Trade practices with producers in our supply chain. Due to the nature of our business, we are not always able to attain Fair Trade certification for each product we sell. Some of the producers in our network live in war-torn countries and high-risk areas where access to Fair Trade inspectors and certification is not available. If we choose not to carry their products due to Fair Trade certification, we would marginalize them even more by not bringing their goods to market. This is the reason why Fair Trade logos are not displayed on products made available through our website and other retail partners. 

As a global consumer goods company, Bajalia believes in integrity and transparency with consumers and retailers as it relates to ethical behavior within their supply chain. We are committed to creating an environment where global artisans are able to come to market, regardless of their location in the world.


We understand how, more and more, people are living in the most difficult of circumstances; so today we show you some of the faces of Fair Trade. The pictures are the faces of women with amazing strength and dignity, those who have chosen to help bring jobs to families, neighborhoods, and villages we visit. These are the faces of women who can change the world. These women represent the hands which weave a future, sew a new tomorrow, mold a transformed world, and raise the leaders of tomorrow. Our hope is that the world will be completely FAIR for our producers to TRADE in the future.  


New York Fashion Week celebrates India artistry and embellishment in a big way


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Reflecting on the beautiful creations from last weeks New York fashion week, the embellishments and runways were filled with Indian craftsmanship.  And though the “Made in India” brand hasn’t been cultivated, protected or promoted nearly as much as “Made in France” or “Made in Italy,” it’s no secret that many of the top international fashion brands use Indian craftsmen, just as we do. Of course there is our favorite designer with India roots, Naeem Khan, whom we adore who always celebrates his mother country.


But everyone from Oscar DeLa Renta to Erdem was showing highly embellished and embroidered frocks.  This makes me happy when I think of the jobs that are created for artisans in India  through this work. Granted the designers get most of the credit but we know from our experience that these types of jobs are life changing.

Investing in the crafts sector offers tremendous opportunity to improve the economic, environmental and social conditions of rural communities.

pa16371223738_1These remote villages and women cooperatives are a long way from New York, but they are closer than you think as you peruse the fashion magazines and our Bajalia website.

I know you are thinking where is the embellished and special items fro us mere mortals who are not shopping the runways, we thought the same thing. Design is in the details and we have your back.

We have developed a beautiful line hand bags and totes and can’t wait for the final products to hit our office soon. Here is a quick preview of what is to come.


Soon these will celebrate all that is good in handcrafted and embellished while providing jobs to women. BIG win for all of us. We will let you know when these beauties arrive.

Let there be Peace on Earth


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When I was a child in school as I sang the song “Let there be peace on earth” it always made me cry. Not in the “Miss America – I Want World Peace” kind of way but true deep tears.  I’m not sure why this song hit me so hard as a young child but I still can’t hear it or sing it without the tears flowing.

Now as an adult I know where those tears come from. As a woman who saw more than her share of violence I think I had a justice calling from a young age, always wanting peace. So today we celebrate International Day of Peace September 21st each year.


As I think about world peace and peace issues, I am more aware than ever, peace does begin with me just like the song says. We have an obligation first in our homes to take the necessary steps of peace, reducing violence, anger and having no tolerance for abuse, then in our communities and then our state, our country and then in our world. When we work globally our statistics say the peace and a lack of terrorism is more likely where women are gainfully employed and educated.

Peace is possible but let it begin with us.  To celebrate #peaceday Bajalia is offering free shipping and 30% off with coupon code PEACEDAY30.

Find a way to celebrate your contribution to peace.

NY Fashion Week Superwoman 19 year old Reshma Banoo Qureshi



Yes fashion week just ended and there is so much to say about the fashion but the real credit goes not to the designers but to the amazing 19 year old who is using her pain to drive her passion to #endacidsale. We love when women use their beauty and power for good and we especially like it when they are this brave and courageous to walk it out on the runway.

Qureshi was 17-years-old when her brother-in-law attacked her with acid, disfiguring her face and body. She even lost one of her eyes.


Model and acid attack victim Reshma Querishi has her make up and hair done before walking the runway for the Archana Kochhar collection during Fashion Week in New York, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Acid attacks is defined as the act of throwing acid or a similarly corrosive substance onto the body of another “with the intention to disfigure, maize, torture of kill” and they are reported in many parts of the world including Europe but are predominant in South Asia and the Middle East.

But despite all of this, Qureshi has refused to hide behind closed doors. She is making an impact on social media and billboards in India with powerful statements such as: “Why is a litre of concentrated acid sold cheaper than a 9ml eyeliner?”

She is supporting Make Love Not Scars but the incredible work she is doing by using her attack to say “I will not hide I am still beautiful” her desire to end the violence is astounding.


Model and acid attack victim Reshma Querishi models the Archana Kochhar collection during Fashion Week in New York, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

“I want to tell the world — do not see us in a weak light and see that even we can go out and do things,” says the teenager “People have a tendency to look at acid attack survivors from one perspective and I don’t want them to look at them like that anymore.”

One persons pain and tragedy can turn into a movement for good to stop selling acid in India.  Many of the women we work with producing our Bajalia products have experienced extreme violence some even acid attacks as well.  We celebrate this woman who speaks for all of them as well. We’re thinking major girl crush?