Brooke Breazeale, Founder of Briya Bags shares her inspiration for starting Briya and how your purchase empowers families and promotes education in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Briya was born after I returned from a 6 month stay in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I was working on a primate sanctuary and assisting with Jane Goodall’s conversation education program, Roots and Shoots. The region I was living in is considered one of the poorest in the world and day to day life for the children I came to know was truly heartbreaking, especially for the girls. They had absolutely no resources, no paper, no books, nothing to draw a picture or practice penmanship with - nothing.
We held classes in an outside structure with only a broken chalkboard and no chalk. Yet, the kids still showed up, every week, eager to learn, to sing, to create. When I saw them walking around the village, the first thing they would ask for was a pen or a pencil, even though I knew their bellies were empty and they did not have a penny to their name - they were hungrier for knowledge. It truly changed me.
When I got back to the states, I immediately noticed how many pencils and pens I saw stuffed in drawers, unused, or discarded on the streets, in perfect condition. We have so many resources at our disposal, we don’t even think twice about ‘disposing’ of something that would be an invaluable treasure to a child living in extreme poverty.
But providing education and resources to these children is only a part of the solution. Women, the mothers in these communities, also need economic opportunities to provide for their families and send their children to school. I saw the beautiful crafts and products the women were making in DRC and knew there was a market for selling these products that would benefit these women and their communities.
So, how could I help? How could I inspire others to help?
I have always loved fashion as a way to express myself, my personality, to tell my story. I am proud to show that I am shopping with intention, thinking globally and choosing products that are improving the lives of others. I created Briya as way for people to empower women and children living in challenging situations by simply shopping for something that would make their travel experience or day-to-day adventures more fun and comfortable- the perfect bag!
With the purchase of each Briya bag, you will be providing school supplies, uniforms, textbooks, vocational training, employment and other essential resources needed to empower women or children living in poverty-stricken communities across the globe.
This is our hope and our mission- with the help of compassionate globetrotters and change-makers like you, and by partnering with organizations like Women’s Partnership Market, we hope to empower children and women to be healthy, self-sufficient, concerned citizens who inspire change and make a difference for themselves and those around them – one bag, one student and one woman at a time.
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