While we did contribute a nominal amount to the initiative in Kaberamaido, we focused the majority of our "giving back" funds to India.
Our donations totaled $9.3k.
In September, founders Jessie and Clare both visited Kalwa, India. It's hard to put into words the impact our money has had, but we tried to summarize as best as we could below:
*We met the three women in Kalwa who we collectively employ to recycle used hotel soap. They're not only paid fair wages, but they work literally minutes away- something easily overlooked. Most people in Kalwa need to commute 1.5 hours into the city. This job allows them to still take care of their children.
*We met the hygiene ambassadors who distribute the soaps to schools in the rural villages. They're recent young high school graduates in a place called Palghar, where good work for young women is scarce. By employing locals, we ensure that they can speak the same dialect of the children and are relatable.
*We saw how they distribute soaps and perform a skit to teach the children about germs, importance of hygiene and how to thoroughly wash hands!
*We saw how our non-profit organization in India holds themselves accountable in so many ways. The soaps are tested by a lab to ensure that they meet sanitation requirements. A randomly selected group of classes are surveyed after 6 months to see whether they remember hygiene best practices.
*But most importantly, we saw how our little soap recycling workshop fits into the greater vision in lifting a slum out of poverty. One small example is how in Kalwa, there is now a clinic that dispenses medication and provides medical attention. This is almost unheard of. In a year, dental services will be offered. This is only possible because another non-profit is providing clean water. Combined with our soap which promotes daily hygiene, we are helping keep these residents healthier from multiple angles.
This is the first year we began to carbon offset not only our ecommerce shipments but also our flight to India. We supported a reforestation effort in the Southern Carpathians in Romania.