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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkNews from Around Banderas Bay | April 2008 

Vivian Hemphill Discusses Poverty and Philanthropy with Wise Wo-Men
email this pageprint this pageemail usTwila Crawford - PVNN

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Reciclaje Artensanal, is a line of folk art produced by the women of Manos de Mujeres Unidas. The product line includes a variety of bags, purses, jewelry boxes and baskets in many shapes and sizes. Visit for more information.
Educator Vivian Hemphill of Manos Unidas por la Mujer (Helping Hands for Women) explained the work of the social enterprise that blends women's empowerment, ecological conscience and artistic creation to participants at a recent meeting of Vallarta Wise Wo-Men.

The grass roots organization, according to Vivian, is comprised of semi-rural, economically disadvantaged women who are making changes in their lives and communities.

Poverty and philanthropy were discussed. Characteristics of poverty pointed out include lack of marketable skills, lack of academic skills, lack of self-esteem, lack of problem solving, practicing self-destructive behavior, teenage pregnancies... and giving to beggars perpetuate the culture of poverty.

Vivian and the audience also talked about feelings of compassion. They "may sabotage our intended goal of eliminating poverty," the educator says, because "compassion can contribute to behaviors such as begging." It was agreed that it is best to offer food, for example, rather than coins. Directing persons to helping organizations in Vallarta such as P.E.A.C.E., Becas Vallarta, and the International Friendship Club also is advised.

The group also explored philanthropy and what may be involved from guilt, ego and seeing one's name in print for some persons, rather than genuinely wanting to help. "Individuals," Vivian says, "honestly need to explore their motivations."

Reciclaje Artensanal is a line of folk art produced by the women of Manor Unidas por la Mujer. Proceeds from the sale of items go to fund outreach educational programs for the women, especially to become self-sufficient.

Vivian points out that "Folk art products are made from recycled newspapers, used plastic bags, pop tabs and other materials that would end up either in the street gutters or polluting Banderas Bay."

The product line includes a variety of bags, purses, jewelry boxes and baskets in many shapes and sizes. You are invited to join the education effort and to buy the products of Manos Unidas por la Mujer. Their items are on sale at the P.E.A.C.E. Kiosk at the Puerto Vallarta Airport, opposite Carl Jr's.

Vivian has been an educator, including at the university level in Colorado. Here, she says, "I saw a need and jumped into action. I could not sit back and do nothing while I saw women, both wealthy and poor, be in a position of dependence and scarcity."

This educator is making an impact. Vivian explains that the women she is helping to empower, in turn empower others. "They want violence in the home to end, want health inside as well as outside the home, want their children to have a better way of life, want to clean up the trash in the streets, and want to contribute to their households and to the economy in spiritually gratifying ways."

Vivian points out, "They do not want their daughters to work at gentlemen's clubs, at luxury escort services or at sleazy massage parlors. The women of Manos Unidas want their daughters to participate in the modern world fully cognizant of their human rights and to participate in the economy with dignity and self-esteem."

For more information, click HERE to read more about PEACE, or please visit the website at . Vivian Hemphill can be reached at joydeviv(at)
An award-winning journalist, Twila Crawford lives in Puerto Vallarta, where, in addition to contributing articles to BanderasNews, the Vallarta Tribune and other local publications, she writes Out and About in Puerto Vallarta, an informative column that offers inside information about who, what, why, where and when it's happening around Banderas Bay.

Click HERE to read more articles by Twila Crawford.

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