The “Rootsmade” charity e-commerce start-up was launched in Armenia for people who suffered from wars in the Middle East and the Caucasus. The aim of this initiative is to offer an online platform to artisans from war-affected areas to showcase their handicrafts and tell their life stories, thus supporting their small businesses as social entrepreneurs.
Being released in 2021, the initiative continued its work in 2022 too.
– The “Rootsmade” webpage has undergone further development and improvement. Accordingly, Facebook and Instagram shops became available for customers. Steps were undertaken to increase the quality of photos taken for handmade items, to make them more presentable.
– New artisans were enrolled into the program.
– In close cooperation with the Municipality of Yerevan and the Syrian Armenians Union, 4 charity fairs were organized in downtown Yerevan, each involving up to 30 vendors.
– Since mid-summer backstopping was provided to 8 students from the American University of Armenia, who joined the “Rootsmade” internship program within YMCA Europe Generation Next project. They are expected to support the “Rootsmade” beneficiaries in improving and promoting their entrepreneurship activities, as well as assist in operating the online platforms. Regular online meetings and continued on-job training is organised for them. However, the students don’t have the capacity to successfully meet all the tasks of the “Rootsmade” without our backstopping.
2023 will be a crucial year in reaching the “Rootsmade” self-sustainability. YMCA Europe has made contacts with USAID, which is planning to finance a project that may become an umbrella for the “Rootsmade”. The project aims at assisting the Armenian artisans to sell their handmade crafts abroad, as well as to help to arrange their shipping using the international “Novica” online platform. An agreement is reached to help the “Rootsmade” vendors to improve their qualification for being presented at “Novica”.
Therefore, YMCA Europe continued support during 2023 will be key in making the “Rootsmade” a best practice initiative to be modeled by other YMCAs operating in war affected areas and for war affected people.
See the full report here ⬇️