Can our purchase choices really make a difference?
When we started to partner with the artisan communities in the Philippines, our main focus was providing a fair wage for a day’s work. Like most consumers, up to this point, I was removed from the making of the products I purchased and didn’t give much thought to the people making or bringing these products to market. I had seen poverty before but nothing like I experienced on that first trip to Manila. It was overwhelming and I didn’t know how I could possibly make any kind of lasting impact to resolve the plight of 15 million people at risk of resorting to illegal means to feed their families.
As easy as it was to get discouraged by the amount of need, I came back to the US and took some steps to use my connections in the West to provide a market for the weavers I met. As doors began to open to be able to buy their products at a fair wage and sell them at local handmade markets and boutiques, we began to see impacting changes take place in the lives of our weavers. Not only did they begin to improve their small dwellings and receive needed medical care for themselves and their families, but they began to be changed internally by the opportunity to have dignified work, people who cared enough to invest in them, and began to experience the tangible love of God for the first time in their lives. It realize now how important our choices are as consumers and as advocates for the marginalized around the world!
Why focus in the Philippines?
We have chosen to focus on providing a consistent market for the women in the Philippines living in dire poverty to continue to see this lasting change take place in the women and families in our partner communities. As God provides more resources and opportunities, we would be excited to empower more women and families in the future!
It’s been such a blessing getting to be a part of the world wide fair trade community through establishing SORA Products in 2015. We’ve gotten to see the important part we all play in the reversal of social injustice and generational poverty in the countries we all are working in and share a similar vision and mission. Individually we each are impacting a number of lives in our focus countries, but collectively we impact a significant majority and contribute to an important shift in awareness and positive change in the lives of those in the most marginalized communities around the world!
What is your advice for the next generation when it comes to social justice and poverty reversal?
We hope that the generations coming after us will be inspired by our story and be more thoughtful in their purchasing choices as well as the amazing outcomes of using opportunities given to them to give others less fortunate than they are an opportunity to bring holistic change to their families and communities!
We hope they will see the transforming power that lies in providing opportunities to work and grow in the marginalized communities in the world instead of just giving a handout or supporting unjust practices for personal gain that perpetuates generational poverty in families and an unhealthy dependency on the people, organization or government giving the handout.
We hope they will see the sanctity of a human life and work. We hope they will see how providing someone dignified labor and mentor-ship can have a lasting impact on families for generations to come.
Why is social justice important to global issues?
When a woman is able to make a just wage for just work and not be discriminated against because of her race, religion, or socio-economic status, her family is positively impacted. When a family is impacted for the good, a community is impacted for the good. When a community is impacted for the good, a city is changed for the good. And when a city is positively changed, a nation is changed for the good. When a nation is changed for the good, the world is impacted for the good. This is the heart of SORA Products. We know we can’t reverse the cycle of poverty in 15 million families’ lives but we can positively impact the lives of 30 women by providing opportunity to earn a fair wage for their craft. For these 30 women, this opportunity is their world.
As we mentioned earlier, when we partner together with like-minded brands around the world in the mission to reverse generational poverty, we are able to make a strong global impact for good! To share your thoughts on the topics of social justice, livelihood and global partnerships like SORA Products, or inquire more into how you can be a part of our small fair trade business please drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org