"When I hand-made my first purse as an personal craft project it was far from perfect, but I loved it and knew it was the beginning of something great."
First, Lets start with Maricia...
I must say our journey started because of my love for art. I am a Registered Nurse in the United States that needed a creative outlet. I started hand weaving purses during my time off. One day my brother saw me making a purse and was intrigued by the sight. I wondered how could such a big, muscular guy be interested in a purse? What he found interesting was my ability to make such a detailed creation by hand. I realized that this was a unique talent because many people my age were never taught how to hand weave or sew. It is an unfortunate dying art and I knew I had found something special. I needed to find a way to teach others and spread our arts.
Then there was Leroy...
Leroy is an old friend of mine. He and a group of villagers had recently started a nonprofit organization helping at risk teenagers and young adults in Saint Kitts and Nevis. He believed this age range was the most vulnerable and susceptible to being recruited by gangs and crime rings. The villagers wanted to build an organization that could benefit teenagers and young adults for years to come. Leroy knew he could not sit around and let the murder rate continue to spiral out of control. In 2011, Saint Kitts and Nevis was listed in The Guardian as the number one in the world in homicides per capita. He did not want to lose another child to senseless acts of violence. Leroy knew he had to do something.
"How many persons do you know that weave, crochet or even sew? Our arts are dying and we have to preserve it."
Melding of the minds…
I hesitantly showed Leroy the hand-woven purse and he too was intrigued I expressed to Leroy how I wished I could teach people how to make purses and revamp the dying art of hand weaving. Leroy agreed with me and expressed concerns about the lack of interesting arts and crafts programs available to the local youth population.
WE BELIEVE IT TAKES
COMMUNITY TO FIX
At the moment, we both realized that we could combine my love of the arts and his love of community to help our young people. That began the Reecii’s journey. The combination of our ideas is seen through Reecii’s three focus areas. 1) To reduce gang violence, 2) To preserve the arts, and 3) To learn to live harmoniously with the environment. We employ underprivileged women who deserve a decent wage and provide them a trade they can use for life. Next these women become skilled at weaving and making elegant purse designs. We use the profits from our purse collection to teach at risk teenagers and young adults life skills. These life skills include team building, financial accountability, and social/communication skills, Health and wellness to name a few. The activities include rock climbing, Helping the underprivileged, cleanups and counseling to name a few. Our youth are excited about THEIR program and we are proud of our involvement in making an impact.
We dont subscribe to alot of rules here at REECII, but we do have a some guidelines that we truly believe in and live by every single day.
why we don’t actively solicit donations
1) We don’t actively solicit donations because we believe communities must be able to help themselves. It’s the only way to end poverty. When you own one of our pieces. You help the environment, reduce poverty and gang violence and help us sustain our customs and traditions
craft does not have to be crafty
2) We put our all into our Art. We try to create the best product experience ever. We want you to love your product and feel good that you’re helping to further our cause. That’s why every piece is meticulously hand crafted to ensure you truly have a one of a kind bag
3) We want you to spread the word. Be our ambassadors. Wear our art. Love our mission of empowering young people. We want you to do good and look good with your REECII handbag while doing it