Eight years ago I learned something that profoundly messed with me.
There are 45 million slaves in the world. Right. Now. That is more than at any other time in history.
For the past 6 years, I’ve travelled to villages and slums to work alongside women who have escaped. Not only have they escaped but they are taking their neighbors and families with them.
I’m witnessing an amazing economic shift and I want you to know about it.
When I was growing up in the midwest, my family didn’t do a lot of recreational shopping, but when we needed something, we either made it or we went to the super saver store to get the best deal. Sometimes my brother and I complained about our parents frugality but we learned that this enabled them to give to charites even though we weren’t super wealthy. We grew to appreciate that value.
This frugal mindset also pushed me to try to make the products I wanted with varying degrees of success. I’m looking at you, glue gunned homemade shoes. Eventually I ended up in the design industry.
After about 12 years, I started to discover that most of the people who were actually MAKING my designs were paid subsistence wages.
I could write a bunch here but I’ll just say that the Universe (actually my friend, Nicole) helped me find work with artisans who have escaped or are at risk of modern slavery as a symptom of extreme poverty. Email me if you want to get coffee and hear more and you can watch me cry into my coffee and make you cry too- Yay!
The economic shift I’m seeing is pretty simple: when you pay people fairly (especially women), this has an enormous stabilizing effect in volatile parts of the world.
My dream is that someday most charities will become obsolete (other than for disaster relief). People won’t need western organizations to give them clean water, food, and medicine while they earn 20¢ an hour making goods for the super saver store. They’ll be able to decide what to buy for themselves which, along with basic human dignity, is way way way more effiecient. I mean, can you imagine someone from another culture coming to your home and deciding what YOU need?
It’s time we ditched the Super Saver/ Charity paradigm and moved toward fair wages, human dignity, and empowerment.
It’s within our everyday power to do this. Find out who makes your stuff! We have enormous power to shift to this new model, simply by being conscious of what we buy.
PS: if you are feeling overwhelmed by this idea, don’t feel bad!! (seriously this melts my brain on the reg) Even little things go a long way. Check out and follow a few of our favorite people so you can make the shift too!