Founders Bios

Susan Moinester

Susan views the co-founding and directing of Manos de Madres with her daughters as the culmination of her life’s work and passions. Since 1991, Susan has managed a personal accessories import business, CONNECT USA, which she founded with Karl Erdman, Manos de Madres’ Treasurer. Prior to CONNECT USA, she was Director of Marketing and New Product Development with the Dr. Scholl’s division of Schering Plough. Before Susan embarked on her career in business, she worked in occupational and women’s health advocacy with a focus on program planning and grant-writing.

Susan holds a Master’s Degree in Social Policy and Planning from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from Brooklyn College in Psychology where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Susan lives in Memphis, TN with her husband David, who has provided the women of Manos de Madres with unwavering moral and financial support. Domestically, Susan is actively involved in living wage and social justice issues and has recently launched a Manos de Madres project in Memphis with the organization Friends for Life.

Arielle Moinester
Arielle Moinester co-founded Manos de Madres in an effort to bring sustainable, women-led business opportunities to agricultural communities in Honduras. She brings to Manos de Madres her experience and passion for designing, implementing and managing business and development projects that seek new intersections between traditional approaches to sustainable community development and market-driven approaches. Arielle has worked with the International Food Policy Research Institute, IFPRI, in Washington, DC and with AVRDC, The World Vegetable Center in Arusha, Tanzania researching African indigenous vegetables and sustainable productivity growth of horticulture in sub-Saharan Africa. She has also worked in coffee production, cooperative building and women’s income generation in Central America and in agricultural development in Ethiopia, Sudan and India. Arielle is a Coordinator for the Women's Earth Alliance, India Women and Agriculture Initiative. She also serves on the Strategic Advisory Board for BioDimensions. Arielle earned her M.S. in Agricultural and Resource Economics and an M.S. in International Agricultural Development from the University of California, Davis. Currently, Arielle is based in New Delhi, India where she is the India Program Manager for Agriculture and Livelihoods and Asia Regional Technical Advisor for Agro-Enterprise with Catholic Relief Services.

Margot Moinester
Margot Moinester became involved with Manos de Madres in 2007 as an Ethics Center Student Fellow at Brandeis University. As a Fellow, Margot spent two and a half months in Kigali, Rwanda working to expand INEZA, an income generation project connected with Women's Equity in Access to Care and Treatment (WE-ACTx). In particular, she worked with the women to design and produce a line of bags and personal accessories for export to the U.S through Manos de Madres. A recipient of the Davis Projects for Peace grant, Margot received $10,000 to return to Rwanda in the summer of 2008 to help INEZA transition into an independent cooperative and expand its designs and markets.

In 2009, Margot completed her undergraduate studies at Brandeis University as a Health: Science, Society and Policy major. She then moved to rural Montana to work as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer with the Richland County Health Department. While in Montana, she completed a rural health assessment and organized public health officials regionally to develop strategies to increase the region’s collective capacity to assess and address residents' health needs. As a frontier region with limited health care services and resources, this partnership serves as a unique model in Montana that enables more efficient utilization of resources and expanded capacity to improve health and quality of life for residents throughout the region.

Margot is currently working as a research assistant with the Women Interagency HIV Study (WIHS) in Chicago. She works as a volunteer fundraiser for WE-ACTx in addition to her work with Manos de Madres.


INEZA Ejo Hazaza Solidarite Shwe Shwe Trash Bags
Initiatives Initiatives Initiatives Initiatives Initiatives
Personal & Home Textile Accessories
Vibrant Fabric Jewelry
Woven Baskets & Jewelry
South Africa
Enchanting Fabric Dolls
Accessories Crafted from Trash
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