Ten By Three

Mawuli Sikanku/Ten By Three

'Ten By Three:' Group Sells African Artisans' Baskets In Effort To Eradicate Extreme Poverty

August 22, 2018 - 4:30 pm

ST. LOUIS (WCBS 880) -- A St. Louis-based group has dedicated its efforts to ending poverty worldwide through entrepreneurship – and its founder said it has a formula for how to eliminate the world’s remaining extreme poverty.

Formerly called the Blessing Basket Project, the nonprofit organization is now called Ten by Three. It specifically helps African female artisans escape poverty by weaving baskets.

“Ten by Three is the formula that we have discovered that works to end this last mile of poverty. We’re down to the last 11 percent of the world’s population that lives in extreme poverty, and they are in very remote areas,” said Ten by Three founder Theresa Carrington. “If we buy 10 products a month – these are artisan products – a month at prosperity wages – which is a model I invented; it’s far beyond fair trade – for three years from a woman, she will tip from poverty to sustainable prosperity, and that formula is Ten by Three, 10 products a month across three years at prosperity wages, and poverty ends.”

Carrington said if the human race wants to survive, it has to end poverty – and the World Bank has not figured out how to do it.

She explained the personal hardship that led her to seek a way to pay her good fortune forward.

“I was going through a crisis in my life back in 1999, and people around me in my small town where I lived in Illinois – very rural area – just started coming around me and making sure that I made it. They would send me cards and letters of support. I would come out in the morning to head off to work and get my little ones to school, and be surprised by a sea of groceries that had been left in the night by anonymous people,” Carrington said.

Carrington also said people anonymously mowed her grass when she was at work, and received a letter in the mail addressed from her to her with a $100 bill inside when she did not know where her kids’ school supplies would be coming from.

She eventually began collecting the items and putting them into a basket she called the “blessing basket.” She also began speaking to women’s groups made of up women who had undergone hardships, where she spoke about the blessing basket.

“As I spoke, women wanted to buy one,” Carrington said.

Carrington wanted to pay it all forward, and initially, she thought of Appalachia. But she was advised that she had to look somewhere where basket weaving was indigenous to the culture. That somewhere was Africa.

Now, Ten by Three’s blessing baskets have helped “thousands and thousands” of impoverished artisans around the world. Over the past 14 years, Carrington went on to develop the formula to eradicate extreme poverty.

Early this year, Blessing Baskets changed its name to Ten by Three.

Ten by Three’s projects are available at the nonprofit’s website, and also at the Room & Board store in Chelsea.

“Room & Board is a fantastic company that does interior design. They have built over 35 products that are exclusive to their store through our artisans. They also can take volunteers from all over the country,” she said. “There’s a lot of ways that we can plug you in to virtual volunteer work. Help us, and if none of those things I’ve just mentioned are something that you can do, then go tell someone you know about what you’ve heard here today. We’ve invented a formula that’s going to help us blast through the last mile of poverty around the world.”