Women in the Western world have very different concerns for their children than women in developing countries. For these mothers, meeting basic life needs such as feeding, clothing, and educating their children is a huge concern. This is not to say motherhood in the Western world comes without its concerns. However, there are basic support networks, social programs, and structures in place to support the less fortunate where mothers in the developing world are left to figure it all out on their own. There is one universal truth: mothers everywhere want a better life for their children. Women struggling in the developing world are faced with some very tough decisions. They are often less empowered and have fewer options due to cultural beliefs or lack of social programs for support. When we learned about the issues women and girls face around the world, we felt compelled to be a part of the solution so we founded Buy the Change.
We created Buy The Change to increase economic and educational opportunities for women in the developing world through the sale of their handmade items. With inspiration from the books Half the Sky and Global Girlfriends, as well as having years of volunteerism and professional experience on our side, we knew in our hearts that we could make a difference.
Economic empowerment and education are the two most powerful forces that help women change their lives. Studies show that when a woman in the developing world earns an income, she invests a high percentage back into her family. When she can afford to feed and educate her children it gives them a brighter hope for the future. The longer a girl can stay in school the lower her chances of becoming a child bride or falling victim to human trafficking. The odds that a mother will permanently lift herself and her family out of poverty increase exponentially when she has a steady income.
The mission of Buy the Change is to help women build their own businesses. Through encouraging and supporting business building for the women of the developing world, Buy The Change can help these women earn a steady income and have futures of sustainable independence and prosperity. As the old adage goes; she is learning to fish rather than being given a fish.
Our aim is to inspire you to help change the lives of women around the world simply by changing where and how you shop. Fair trade is an essential part of the solution. Fair trade principles ensure a good, living wage is given and that no exploitation occurs. Through in-home Trunk Shows, Buy The Change sales advocates bring groups of compassionate people together to learn about the importance of fair trade, to discuss the issues women and girls face in the developing world, and to create change by promoting and selling fairly-traded, woman-made products. They set up a traveling boutique of fairly-traded artisan products. Everything is on hand so there are no catalogues or orders taken – customers take their purchases home with them that day. As an added benefit, each Trunk Show host can choose a local nonprofit organization to sponsor and Buy The Change makes a donation, based on sales, following every show. Trunk Shows are fun, informative and beneficial on multiple levels.
Currently, our Trunk Shows are only available in the Detroit Metro area, but an expanded Advocate program is in development. Buy The Change products are available nationwide at www.buythechangeusa.org
There are two arms of Buy The Change. Described above is the retail business focused on business-building for women around the world. It is the “trade, not aid” arm of our business. Separately, the Buy The Change Foundation, which is a registered non-profit, was founded to support international woman-centric organizations through grants. A different organization is chosen each year to be the grant recipient. For 2013, The Nepali Youth Foundation - Indentured Daughters Program will be the recipient.
We are big believers in “possibility” thinking. We want every woman to have a happy, peaceful and empowered life. You can join us and support our cause in many ways: host a trunk show, spread the word about our mission and the importance of buying fairly-traded products, follow Buy The Change on Facebook, and Twitter, sign up for our mailing list, subscribe to our blog and shop online! Shanan Bunzendahl and Kari Hughes- Founders of Buy The Change and The Buy The Change Foundation.