Happy International Women’s Day.
So Just Shop’s mission is to economically empower vulnerable women from some of the poorest communities in the world.
“Working for many years in international development, time and again I saw first hand that barriers to maternal and child health and education were linked to economic disempowerment. How can you take a child to the clinic for its free vaccinations if you cannot afford the bus fare? How can you send all your children to school if you only have enough money for one school uniform? It is a fact repeated the world over, economic empowerment of women has a direct effect on the education and health of the whole family — women are more likely to invest in their family and local community. Economic empowerment of women saves lives, increases education and improves social indicators of whole communities.” - Jennifer Georgeson, Founder of So Just Shop.
We want to help educate and upskill women so they are economically empowered, giving them agency within their communities. We aim to work with with 1500 women-led artisan groups around the world, thereby raising 250,000 people out of abject poverty.
International Women’s Day is the perfect occasion to celebrate and shine a light on some of the wonderful women Artisans who make the beautiful products that we sell at So Just Shop.
Arusha, Savannah Chic
Before Arusha started working for Savannah Chic she had odd jobs as cleaning lady. One day there was a huge explosion near her house in Kangemi and she lost her hearing. Arusha was no longer able to do the odd jobs she had been doing and was introduced to Savannah Chic by another artisan who lives in the same area. Despite being severely hearing-impaired they realised that she was a quick learner, diligent & sincere and trained her in basic jewellery making. Arusha has been working with Savannah Chic for several years now, and recently used part of her earnings to send her sister to India for an urgently needed kidney treatment.
Carolina, Tigre de Salon
Carolina Taborda Pulgarin is 33 years old and has a 2 year old daughter. Carolina is responsible for all the handmade work, assembly and quality checks on the bags. "Because I am paid a fair and decent wage, as well as offering flexibility, I have time to take care of my child and financially support my family."
Teresa, Castellano Ethnic Origins
Teresa is a part of the Wayuu tribe and lives in in a small settlement called 'Rancherias' in the vast Guajira desert in Northern Colombia. The has five children, with the oldest being 18 years old. Teresa weaves a Si’ira: the most beautiful and intricate weaving technique produced by Wayuu women in Colombia. It has been passed down through various generations and taught to Taresa and her eldest daughter Senaida by her mother, Maria Eloisa. The women are hardworking, wise and disciplined with their skills and craftsmanship. Behind every Mochila bag is a cultural message, a story, a soul and an important subject related to their lives. Each woven design carries a meaning which extends far beyond its aesthetic appeal. “Each Mochila bag requires our physical and emotional energy, we spend up to twenty five days weaving a large bag and more than a month weaving a hammock. In each Kanas ( means ‘pattern‘ in Wayuu language) we portray our way of life and most of all our values and beliefs”
S.M., Penh Lenh
S.M. is one of the newest team members at Penh Lenh! New joiners are asked to create a list of 5 goals they hope to accomplish and/or learn at Penh Lenh. In S.M.’s list of goals she said wanted to learn how to have better relationships, conversations and learn how to be BRAVE. Just 3 months later, S.M. said she had a family, friends who understand her, and a new sense of bravery all through working at Penh Lenh.
At aged 16, Kavita’s mother wanted her to get married to reduce the financial burden on the family. Instead, Kavita persuaded her mother to let her take a seamstress training course. Kavita is now 23 and has been working at SNEHA for the past five years. Before moving out of her childhood home, when she got married 5 months ago, Kavita was the highest earner in her family. She persuaded her mother to keep her younger brother in education by financially supporting both her mother and brother. Because of her increased status in the family, due to her economic input, she was allowed to choose her own husband and marry at a time of her own choosing. She is delaying having a family for another five years and currently earns more than her husband, enabling her to take an equal role in all matters within their marriage. "Now I have learnt these skills, I earn more money than my husband giving me an equal say in the family finances, I can afford to keep my brother in school for longer and am in control of how many children I have".