2017 was another extraordinary year under our belt and it couldn't have been done without each and every one of you. Your ongoing support and purchases have enabled us to expand our efforts in Uganda for 2018. The intent of this email is to let you know where your proceeds have gone or will be going.
As some of you may know, b.a.r.e. soaps is a part time effort and we volunteer our time because we believe in the cause and product. We started b.a.r.e. soaps as a vehicle to fund economic development initiatives and we are proud to share the impact all of us have collectively made in 2017. However, some changes are a comin' in 2018, so please read all the way to the end of the post.
- We continued to fund immediate needs, including vitamins and soaps. In January 2018, a team will be headed to Kaberamaido where they will bring soap and vitamins, funded by b.a.r.e. soaps.
- A significant portion of 2017 holiday proceeds will fully fund an initiative to bring power to a library resource center via solar for our ~150 children. This is significant because there is currently no reliable form of energy or electricity at our Carepoint. Students who excel in grade school and who are therefore afforded the rare opportunity of taking an entrance exam for higher education must do so on a computer in a nearby city. Having never even seen a computer, these students often are unable to complete the exam for obvious reasons. We hope this resource center will help bridge the gap among many other benefits.
- We began to sell Ugandan, hand-spun paper beaded necklaces from Florence, a mother of one of our Carepoint kids. Florence is widowed and without land, which means that she has a monthly outflow of rent each month. Her current job is unable to support this outflow and her two children’s education, so we are hoping that helping her sell her jewelry abroad will enable her to save enough money to buy her own land and get out of this “debt trap”. You can read more about the effort here and some of the necklaces are still available!
Last year, we were able to expand into the Kalwa Slum in India, via a new partnership with Sundara Fund to employ 3 women with fair wages. These women not onlyrepurpose used hotel soap and redistribute them in the slums, but they also act as ambassadors in sharing good hygiene practices with their communities.
In 2017, we were able to expand the initiative to bring some of those repurposed hotel soaps to sell in the US in the form of 360 repurposed bars. Barring a few logistical challenges, we were able to sell two batches of these soaps. We have now encountered some additional challenges but will continue to work with Sundara on this initiative.
WHAT'S IN STORE FOR 2018?
As a small, part-time business, one of the challenges is scaling. In 2018, we will be outsourcing fulfillment as the main fulfiller (Jessie) is moving abroad to Berlin for a short term assignment for her full time job. We contemplated a few options but determine that this was the best route as it will allow us to scale further to pursue more non-profit initiatives.
We understand that the primary disadvantage of outsourcing fulfillment will mean a less personal touch when folks receive their packages. However, should you experience any issues, please do not hesitate to contact email@example.com. Jessie will still be able to run the overall operations from abroad!
Thank you so much again for your support this year. We continued to gain momentum in the press, being featured in Woman's Day, Mashable, and a lovely callout from Jen Hatmaker in addition to many award winning blogs/publications. One easy way that you can help us is by leaving a review if you haven’t yet- it helps everyone make a more informed purchase!
Hoping everyone has a healthy and amazing 2018 filled with meaning and hope!