Our Story

The WAR Chest Boutique is the retail arm of the non-profit organization Women At Risk, International, for which W.A.R. is an acronym. It includes our online boutique, 3 retail stores, and WAR Int’l product parties held in homes, businesses and churches throughout the U.S.

We are a treasure chest, if you will, of unique gifts hand-crafted by or sold in support of at-risk women (and even some at-risk men) in our partnering programs in over 40 countries, including the United States.

Our mission is two-fold:
1. To market and sell the women’s work, empowering them to make a living with dignity and to expand the programs they’re in to help more at risk women.

2. To educate our shoppers about the risks facing women around the world and invite them to make a difference by shopping with a purpose and sharing the stories of the women who made their pieces.

WAR, Int’l addresses several risk issues, but most of the women behind our products have been at risk or rescued from sexual exploitation and modern day slavery (human trafficking).

Each product description includes information about the program it is made in or supports as well as a link to our artisan story gallery.

Though the specific risks faced by our women vary, their needs are often the same: love, safety, dignity, education, and practical skills to empower them to make a living and provide for their children. When you buy a product from the WAR Chest Boutique, you are truly a fellow soldier in the fight to set women and children free from bondage and slavery. Shop with a Purpose!

Learn more about our products, how they are made, and the women who make them HERE:

  • Our History
  • About Us
  • FAQ
  • Story Gallery

Our History – The history of Women At Risk, International (WAR, Int’l) far exceeds the dates of its formal establishment, reaching back into the childhood of founder and president Rebecca McDonald. McDonald’s international upbringing first exposed her to the world of risk when a young friend was found wounded, raped, and unable to speak from the acid used to silence her cries. Both McDonald and the victim were only 14 years old at the time. On that day, this one girl’s suffering set McDonald on a course of action to become a voice for the voiceless, a defender of the oppressed, and a haven of healing for the hurting.

After working in international women’s issues for thirty years, McDonald recognized the growing desire of American women to join the effort to protect and empower at-risk women. Therefore, in 2006 Women At Risk, International was founded with projects in 14 countries worldwide. By 2007, WAR, Int’l had received its 501(c)3 status and began offering a small selection of hand-crafted jewelry through the organization’s website, home-party sales, and at conferences and events. By 2008 WAR had grown from offering pearl necklaces and hand-blown glass ornaments to offering jewelry, cards, ornaments, and other gifts from 3 safe-houses and 3 preventative training programs. This growth prompted the opening of WAR’s first store, The WAR Chest Boutique, in Rockford, Michigan. The storefront enabled WAR to involve the public in a new and unique way, educating them about risk issues and empowering them to make a difference in the lives of women all over the world. The response was powerful!

Two years later, WAR Int’l Headquarters was relocated to a larger facility in Wyoming, MI, and a second boutique was opened under the same roof. With continued growth and positive public response, WAR, Int’l was soon pushed across state boundaries, bringing a third store to the Naperville, Illinois, area in 2011.

WAR’s most recent developments include the purchasing of a larger, permanent space for growth and expansion, the founding of WAR’s U.S. Training Center for at-risk women in the United States, and the launching of The WAR Chest Boutique website!

Today, WAR, Int’l is represented in all 50 states and is currently expanding into new countries as additional projects and partnerships are being formed.

Our Focus – Women At Risk International (WAR, Int’l) is a Grand Rapids based, nonprofit organization established with the mission of creating circles of protection around at-risk women around the world and in the United States through culturally sensitive, value-added intervention projects and partnerships. Our projects and partners provide a safe place for women and children to heal from many abuses, including human trafficking, while also providing occupational and educational training empowering them to work and live with dignity. Through our holistic approach we are able to rescue and empower the lives of many.

WAR, Int’l not only creates safe places for women and children but also gives voice to their silenced cries by educating communities in the United States about the issues and by providing individuals with practical ways to “do something” about what they have learned. One of the ways we invite people to get involved is by purchasing jewelry and other unique gifts made by and sold in support of the women we serve. Our products are sold through home parties, our web-store www.warchestboutique.com, and in three retail boutiques (WAR Chest Boutique) in Wyoming and Rockford, Michigan and Naperville, IL. Shopping these products helps women support their families and live lives of dignity.

WAR International currently partners with programs or operates projects in over 40 countries, including the United States. Monthly, additional projects and partnerships are being formed and we are very thankful for the opportunity to reach into the lives of a growing number of women.