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March 23, 2009

A Gift of Hands

Julie Mullin says her business selling organic, fair trade fiber products is doing quite well in this economic climate. But she couldn't do it without the unusual partnership she's formed with a Montagnard woman named Jum.

Julie once had a successful quilting business. Then severe arthritis stole her ability to use her hands. Jum had just come to the United States from the remote central highlands of Vietnam. She didn’t speak English, she had never had running water or electricity, and she certainly didn’t know how to run a sewing machine. But Julie needed hands, and Jum needed a job. 

Now, despite the language barrier and the faltering economy, the two women have learned to work together seamlessly, and Julie says her business is booming.

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