Stephanie Giddens

Founder & President

Stephanie GiddensIn the summer of 2000, I met poverty face-to-face in the slums of Calcutta. I’ll never forget the eyes of children whose daily reality was far different from mine. I returned to the U.S. confused and guilt-ridden about the luxuries I had but never appreciated.

In 2008, I took my first trip to East Africa. While wandering through a market in Kampala, Uganda, I bought a handmade paper necklace from a local artisan. In her eyes, I saw something different than what I’d seen in Calcutta. Her physical circumstances weren’t any better, but my purchasing her handiwork allowed dignity in a way that my charity never could.

In 2011, I helped to develop a project that partnered businesswomen in Dallas with like-minded women in Rwanda. We raised money for leadership training and microfinance lending to launch Rwandan businesses. Many thrived.

Later in 2011, I was confronted and horrified by the proliferation of human exploitation, so I organized a panel to address human trafficking. I recognized again what I’d seen in Uganda – the unbelievable redemption and freedom that dignified work affords the human soul.

In the last five years, I’ve studied social business and learned how work empowers the vulnerable. My husband and I seriously looked for social business opportunities in East Africa. Our plans to move to Rwanda in the summer 2013 fell through at the last minute – heartbreaking to us and many who supported us.

We found ourselves settling back into Dallas and though our plans changed, we knew we’d still been called to help. Our church began to engage refugees that lived in a neighborhood near our home called Vickery Meadows. I realized that I didn’t need a passport, or to live 8 time zones ahead to empower the vulnerable. I decided that if I can’t go to Rwanda, I will help women right here in Dallas.

It’s been a long road with many lessons along the way. And so with great heart and purpose, I welcome you to Vickery Trading Company.