SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A nonprofit that has been empowering women living in poverty around the world for the past 10 years is launching in the Bay Area.

Rising International, based in Santa Cruz, is launching in the San Francisco Bay Area with a Hands of Hope luncheon event in San Francisco on  November 1st.

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KCBS’ Connie C. Kim talks to Founder and Executive Director Carmel Jud:

Rising International’s mission is to directly contribute to the end of extreme poverty by enabling women, the world’s poorest people, to participate in the global economy through its home party network.

This is the first nonprofit to use a direct sales model for a social cause.  So instead of selling cosmetics and Tupperware at a home party, participants sell crafts made by impoverished women around the world.

“During the time of the Taliban, women were… not allowed to work, not allowed to receive an education,” Founder and Executive Director Carmel Jud described the moment she was inspired to start this nonprofit.   “I grew up in the Bay Area and I couldn’t imagine a life like that where as a woman I was not allowed to read or write.”

Jud felt these women were being forgotten and yet needed their stories to be told.

Her organization started a doll project with the Afghan women and was able to turn that into a business for them.

Rising International’s priority globally is to find women in poverty and war zones, partner with other organizations that are on site, figure out a product they can sell in the Bay Area and immediately change their lives.

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Jud said they’re essentially providing a marketplace and audience for these women who wouldn’t have access otherwise.  Besides selling their products and making a living, they are able to share their personal stories and educate people on what’s happening around the world.

“We’re in 20 countries and we have found that women are creating beauty and hope everywhere,” Jud said.  “Whether they’re in a refugee camp or in the middle of a conflict zone they’re finding a way to make something beautiful as a way of hope for themselves or they might just be weaving a basket to gather grains.. something that’s really needed.  So we’re able to then use that idea of whatever it is they’re making, bring it here, sell it for them so they get much needed income, but also use that craft as their messenger so they really have a way, out of a refugee camp, to tell you their stories.”

Besides the global work, Rising International is also reaching out to local women who need help.

“We actually train underemployed women in  the Bay Area to run their own Rising International business so we’re able to impact prosperity locally and globally with this concept.”

The Rising International Hands of Hope Luncheon will be held on Friday, November 1st, 2013, at the Hilton San Francisco Financial District, 750 Kearny Street, San Francisco.  featuring a keynote presentation by Jamila Hashimi, the courageous teacher of  a secret school for Afghan girls and Co-Founder of Rising’s Afghan Widow’s Doll Project.  Tickets are available online at

To learn more about Rising International and to find out how you can host a party and get involved, go to

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