I’m sure you’ve heard that today is International Women's Day (IWD). It's a day where we celebrate the amazing achievements of women all around the world. It's also a day where we shine a light on the ongoing struggles for gender equality and push for progress towards a more just and equitable society.
This year's International Women's Day is super special because we've had the privilege of working with some truly incredible women through Intertwined: Handmade for Good. Let me tell you about some of them.
We can't name our Afghan friends due to safety concerns, but let us tell you - these ladies are the epitome of resilience and adaptability. They had to flee their home country when the Taliban regained power in 2021. They arrived in Greensboro, North Carolina with nothing but their skills and determination. Despite the adversity they faced, they were able to provide additional support to their family by sewing Intertwined's mixed-textile pillows, using fabrics from various countries. We're so grateful for their contributions, which not only help us produce beautiful products but also showcase the importance of recognizing and celebrating the skills and talents of women, particularly those who have been displaced from their homes.
And it's not just our Afghan friends who have blown us away with their skills and entrepreneurial spirit. Souffiane Belhayl's sisters and mother in Marrakech, Morocco, are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to embroidery, and we've been able to collaborate with them over WhatsApp messages and shared photos to design the perfect Easter baskets. Souffiane's family is proof of the power of intergenerational knowledge sharing and the importance of supporting women's entrepreneurship.
We're also in awe of Mala Thapa Magar, the founder and CEO of Himalayan Allo Udhyog (HAU). Her company produces nettle fiber, fabrics, yarn, clothing, and bags and indirectly employs over 600 people, mostly women in remote villages in Nepal. Plus, she's raised awareness about the sustainability of nettle fiber - how cool is that? By prioritizing the well-being of the women involved in the production process, Mala's business is a model for socially responsible and sustainable entrepreneurship. Her story is an inspiration for anyone who believes that business can be a force for good and that women have a vital role to play in creating a more equitable and sustainable future.
Last but definitely not least, we want to give a shoutout to Ride 4 a Woman, a non-profit founded by Evelyn Habasa in Buhoma, Uganda. This amazing organization empowers over 300 women from 11 surrounding communities who are struggling with HIV, domestic violence, and poverty. The women involved in the program make beautiful napkins and aprons and weave baskets of all shapes and sizes. Ride 4 a Woman provides a source of income for these women, but it's also so much more than that - it offers support and community. The success of Ride 4 a Woman highlights the transformative power of women's economic empowerment and the need to invest in grassroots organizations that support women's livelihoods.
So as we celebrate International Women's Day this year, let's keep in mind that the fight for gender equality is far from over. Women still face systemic discrimination and violence all over the world, and COVID-19 has only made things worse. By shining a light on the incredible stories of women like our Afghan friends, Souffiane's family, Mala Thapa Magar, and the women of Ride 4 a Woman, we can inspire others to take action towards creating a more just and equitable world.
On this International Women's Day, let us celebrate the progress we have made and recommit to creating a world where all women can thrive. And let us remember that together, we can create a better world for all.
Happy International Women's Day!