Rahab’s Rope: A Global Marketplace
Where: 118 Washington St., Gainesville
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday
More info: www.rahabsrope.com
Rahab’s Rope mission is simple: Teach women skills to help them find work in their communities in India and prevent them from entering human trafficking.
Funding its organization ties into its mission statement. Rahab’s Rope pays the women in its learning and production centers in Goa, India, for each piece of jewelry or accessory they make.
The formula is proving successful.
From its founding in 2004, Rahab’s Rope has steadily grown from an obscure ministry of trying to stop human trafficking with a small shop on the downtown square to a life-changing nonprofit in a bigger facility.
Rahab’s Rope quietly moved to 118 Washington St. near the Main Street intersection with hopes of continuing its growth.
“The store was growing steadily, and we had some strong growth even earlier, but it slowed down,” said David Moore, who co-founded the nonprofit with his wife, Vicki. “And we knew we had to get more to be able to do more and sustain the organization and its goals.”
The new store houses retail space and a warehouse in a 5,500-square-foot space diagonally across from its previous space of 1,800 square feet on Bradford Street. In the new space, the organization receives goods made by girls in Rahab’s Rope centers in India as well as from artisans in other countries.
“We have about 35 percent more different items in this store,” Moore said. “We have Moroccan pottery, olive wood jewelry from Jordan and more of the patchwork handbags our girls make in India.”
Rahab’s Rope has a team that works with designers in Gainesville and brings the designs and materials to the women in India for production before sending the finished product to the store.
“We know what would be marketable here,” said Susan Lynch, director of outside sales and merchandising. “We look at what cultural materials are there and get them to make things we could sell.”
Some products take as long as three months to order, make and deliver because all are handmade. The items range from jewelry to rice bags to silk jewelry pouches and more.
“The rice bags they consider waste, but they have become popular here,” Lynch said. “Waste to best, the girls call it.”
For the nonhomemade merchandise in store, the proceeds help teach the women and provide housing and food.
“The money pays for the leasing on the production center, two after-care homes for women, education and training and basic needs,” Moore said.
The venue change also signals the organization’s expansion overseas with four stations in India and more girls entering the program.
“We try ourselves to teach them as little as possible,” Lynch said. “We try to find someone in the community (who) knows the skills they need and teach her to become a teacher for the other girls.”
For the near future, Rahab’s Rope is looking to bring knowledge of human trafficking back home and educate students at the local level.
“Vicki’s push for this year is to get into local schools and talk about trafficking,” Moore said. “We want to teach them how to recognize when something is going on, perhaps with a friend or sister, to help prevent it.”
The overseas mission, however, continues to focus on prevention and after-care.
“We are trying to help them get to the next level,” Moore said. “We want them to become successful in communities.”
The new store will hold a grand opening in August with featured suppliers and authors who have written about the organization.