Why Ten Thousand Villages?

Why Ten Thousand Villages?
Step into Ten Thousand Villages, and you are surrounded by the bright colors and many textures of exotic lands.  Spices perfume the air, and strains of soulful music transport you to another place.  You may think you’ve left home, until a warm voice says in the accent of the Deep South, “Welcome to Ten Thousand Villages!” and you realize you’re still in Greensboro, not the soukhs of North Africa.  But you have entered a place filled with goods from many other lands.  In fact, each item in Ten Thousand Villages is handcrafted by artisans in over 35 developing countries.  You will find backloomed textiles made by women in Guatemala, fine silver jewelry crafted by Tuareg men, and smooth onyx pieces from Pakistan.
How did this space filled with the best from all over the world come to its little corner of Greensboro?  What you may not know upon walking through the front door, but will surely learn before you leave, is that Ten Thousand Villages exists for a greater purpose.  It’s not just another shop.  All of this – the music, the crafts, the volunteers – exists to support people who would otherwise suffer in poverty.
Volunteers?  That’s right.  Ten Thousand Villages is staffed by dozens of volunteers who see their work as an answer for those in developing countries who need someone to tell their stories and pay them a fair wage for their handicrafts.  Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit organization, which means that it exists solely to fulfill this mission of alleviating poverty.
This month at Ten Thousand Villages, there are new items from all over the world – unique home décor, handcrafted by people like Nguyen Thi Nguyen.  Though she is 33, Nguyen looks like a teen as she sits surrounded by unfinished white ceramics.  She is one of the thousands of artisans supported by Ten Thousand Villages, 65 percent of whom are women.  Nguyen specializes in glazing the ceramics, and through her work she has realized her dream of educating her children.  Perhaps you will think of Nguyen as you explore the store and make your choices, or perhaps you will just enjoy the beauty of what she has made.  Either way, she thanks you.