In 2014, a young traveler by the name of Shea found himself wondering through India with the hope of learning about a country he knew nothing about. Within the first couple of days, he found himself about an hour outside of Pondicherry, where he met a group of 10 women.
These women had taken out a micro-finance loan to start a business with the hopes of combatting the financial issues associated with alcoholic husbands. They were talented, caring women that wanted to provide for their children. Their medium for doing so: making hand-stitched bags with fibers that grew exclusively in their home village.
They had created a tangible business yet struggled to make ends meet given how remote their village was. They had no access to the necessary financial resources to scale a business nor the know-how to do so. As a naive college student, Shea figured why not give it a shot selling the bags back home in America.
When he arrived back in the U.S., with 150 artisan handbags stashed in his dorm room and no idea whether or not the bags were going to sell, he started sharing the women's stories. Within four days of marketing the bags, he broke even from his initial investment in the women's artisan group.
At that moment, he realized that not only was there a high demand for these artisan products, but they were generating a significant revenue stream that could be used to tackle a larger issue at hand.
Given his experiences while in India, that issue was child trafficking.
Hundreds of children back in India were falling victim to trafficking networks simply because the children's parents could not afford to keep the children in school.
Knowing that roughly $35 is enough to keep a child in primary school in India for a month, it made sense to divert the profits from the artisan products to supporting these children
As we continued to spread the word about what we were doing, more and more people realized their potential for making a direct impact in both the artisan's lives and well as the children's lives. In 2015 we partnered with Rippled Purpose—an organization that built a school in Bangalore, India that kept kids out of labor camps.
In 2015, we generated enough revenue to send emergency supplies to an orphanage in Nepal following the series of devastating earthquakes. In 2016, we generated enough revenue to purchase two sets of new uniforms for each child at our partner school. And since working with the Poondhazhir artisan group, they've been able to hire 5 new women.
In the grand scheme of things, we know that our efforts through Earth’s Kids aren't changing the world. Looking at the issue of child trafficking, we aren’t even putting a dent in the issue. However, that isn’t the point. If all of our efforts can make a transformational impact in one person’s life, then those efforts become worthwhile.