Wearing Despair

Photo: Luc Forsyth for IndustriAll Global Union

Photo: Luc Forsyth for IndustriAll Global Union

Are our shopping habits hurting people on the other side of the world?

This is a question that more and more Westerners are thinking about. While most of us would never be supportive of slave-like work conditions in theory, the issue becomes blurry when it presents in the form of our clothes. We don’t sense the burden when we’re clicking through clothes online (Wow! $10 maxi dress….score!) or stocking up on school uniforms for our kids at places that won’t break the bank. In many ways, we feel that we’re being good stewards of our resources when we shop for the best prices on clothing. And yet….

The issue is complex. How are these clothes so affordable? At what cost? Often, clothes are cheap when the labor is cheap, and “the labor” is a multitude of human beings spending grueling days in garment factories. Often in SE Asia. Often in Cambodia.

We read and hear horrifying reports of workers fainting and dying in these working conditions, overextending themselves in every way to make enough money to survive and support their families. We don’t see this. It doesn’t often make headlines here in the U.S. What we see is an inbox flooded with subject lines like “Clearance Sale!” and “Spring Must-Haves!” at prices our wallets agree with. And yet…

There are stories like this. And this. What can we do with these stories? How can we stop this from happening to our brothers and sisters halfway around the world? We can shop responsibly. It isn’t as tricky as it sounds, either. As actress Ashley Judd famously declared, “I don’t want to wear someone else’s despair.” We don’t want to, either.

Consider the source of your clothes, and opt to support workers paid living wages and afforded good working conditions. Our byTavi line is the perfect place to shop, because not only are our seamstresses paid fair trade wages, they’re being cared for on a spiritual and emotional level as well.

Let’s use our dollars to lift others out of poverty rather than driving them deeper into it.



Thank you SO much for your continued support of our work in Cambodia. Here’s a special message from Nathan, CGI’s Executive Director.

New Year and New (Baby!) Additions

CGI has gained some new faces in recent weeks!

We’re excited to announce three births we’ve been celebrating with our CGI Cambodia staff. Our Kien Svay Kids Coordinator, Srey Leak, gave birth to her first baby boy in December. He is beautiful and healthy and we’re praising God for his safe arrival. Srey Leak is a critical piece of our ministry in Cambodia, and faithfully teaches impoverished children in the Kien Svay province each week. These kids are excelling in school, playing fun games and learning about Jesus thanks to her!


Our Director of Operations in Cambodia, Alan and Katy Beringer, welcomed their second son last week! His name is Elim, and joins big brother Jonah to make them a family of four. Elim was born in the U.S. while the Beringers are home on furlough, and their family is happy and healthy and enjoying this new addition to their family.



Kristen Baynai, our byTavi Volunteer Coordinator, also welcomed her first baby with her husband Jeremy in the Fall. Baby Spencer is pictured below. We’re on cuteness overload here at CGI!



We’re happy for the New Year and new little faces! Please join us in thanking God for these new lives.