Growing Up Between Cultures: Why I support Women’s Empowerment in my Busines
I grew up a middle class American in the third world country of Madagascar with my two sisters and a brother. Our home was always open to everyone and we had a lot of local and international people staying with us. Our parents lived a life of service. We grew up in the bush with local Malagasy kids as our friends. We spent hours outside playing and having fun like children all over the world do despite social and economic differences.
When we became adults and journeyed down our different paths, at one point my older sister Tamar and I realized that it made sense for us to work together. Tamar works with economically impoverished women in rural India. I have been passionately making my way through a small business venture in the USA. Two entrepreneurial women working between cultures and forming a connection which enhances many lives.
The women's program Blue Mango Trust in India that Tamar founded gives us purpose, me as an entrepreneur and Tamar as a designer and social justice mover and shaker. The socially conscious and eco-friendly products from Blue Mango that I carry in my retail business Marigold Way gives both the women of Blue Mango and myself a source of income, and the ethos of Blue Mango gives a positive message in this world of ours.
As we as a society embrace slow fashion, ethical consumerism, artisan made and fair trade, we, by our "feel good" beliefs and practices can contribute to the success of programs like Blue Mango. For us it is a value-centered choice. We have so many options as first world consumers. But for the women of Blue Mango, our purchases are essential to putting food on the table and buying school uniforms for their children. It is basic survival.
As a social entrepreneur, what I am doing is not charity. The Blue Mango women are empowered and carry a sense of pride. They give me as much as I give back to them.
Living by the lessons of childhood, considering those who are in need and in challenging circumstances, brings me to a place of gratefulness and joy which my business partner Jenny and I hope to pass on to our customers.