Refuge Teaches Women to Make Candles in the Darkness of War

Refuge Teaches Women to Make Candles in the Darkness of War

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Candle-making in Iraq, Prosperity Candles photoProsperity Candle provides women living in distressed areas around the world the tools and distribution they need to start their own companies making and selling beautiful candles.

They wanted to prove their business model could benefit struggling women in any other part of the world, so the Massachusetts-based company launched their pilot project in Baghdad, in the midst of war and exploding bombs.

Co-founder Amber Chand, whose Indian family was ejected from Uganda in 1972, chose the candle-making trade as the perfect metaphor for bringing light to families displaced and distressed by conflict or poverty.

“Wherever there is darkness on the planet, that is where I seek to go, reminding women there is always light,” says Chand.


In March 2009 she partnered with Women for Women International – an organization helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. Chand trained their staff, who subsequently taught 4 Iraqi women in Baghdad how to make high-quality candles using Prosperity Candle equipment. After field-testing the kits these workers became trainers for 50 more women entrepreneurs.

All the women will be able to earn an income that is above the minimum wage in Iraq, and some of the most skilled candle-makers have the opportunity to earn twice that amount simply by investing in more candle molds. Read more about the impact of the project at ProsperityCandle.com.

WATCH the TEDx video featuring Amber Chand, sharing her journey from refugee to entrepreneur and a meditation on different ways to bring light into our lives.

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