Nonprofit Spotlight: How Handbags Are Saving Honduran Women's Lives

Instead of heading to name-brand stores, St. Louis women have a new way to buy bags. The best part of the purchase? The purses aren’t carbon-copy items but individually made pieces.

“The handmade aspect of the product is unique, like artistry, as opposed to a mass-produced product,” says Pour Favor founder Kathy Rosario. “I’m trying to bridge the connection between poor people who have a talent and people here who appreciate that talent.”

Pour Favor bags, courtesy of the nonprofit.

Pour Favor bags, courtesy of the nonprofit.

Rosario, also Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs at Saint Louis University, established the St. Louis nonprofit as a way to combat violence in her native country of Honduras by supporting women’s education. She chose bags as the primary product because they’re authentic to and reminiscent of the Central American culture.

A team based in Honduras handsews the bags, which come in a variety of sizes, styles, colors and patterns. The proceeds go directly back to funding women’s education in Honduras.

“I said that I feel like Superwoman, you know? I’m trying to fight crime, violence, poverty and illiteracy,” Rosario says.

Rosario first came to the United States in 1996 to receive an education but maintained a connection with her hometown because several of her family and friends still lived in Honduras. “I would read the newspapers every day and be so frustrated that the violence would only increase,” she says.

After returning to Honduras in August 2014 and witnessing the violent living situations firsthand, she decided it was her time to pay it forward and do something to help. “Even if I have a big task ahead, I’m not afraid” says Rosario. “I want to be the positive to the negative.”

Rosario’s next steps for the organization are to launch a website and to begin sharing the Honduras women’s individual stories for more “meaningful shopping.”

For more information about the organization or to purchase bags, visit facebook.com/pourfavor.org—and be sure to check out our next installment in this Nonprofit Spotlight series next Thursday.

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