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It’s International Women’s Day and I can’t think of a more perfect place to celebrate than in Guatemala (Current location: San Pedro La Laguna, Lake Atitlan). On this day, people all over the world are celebrating and honoring women! What a wonderful reason to celebrate!

    As I think about the meaning of International Women’s Day, I reflect back to a conversation I had last week with my Spanish teacher. I had the lovely opportunity to have Norma as my teacher for my week of Spanish school in Quetzeltenango (or commonly known by locals as Xela), Guatemala. A little about Norma. She has worked in Xela for 17 years, has two boys (27 and 14), she is a widow and works as a teacher for the Spanish school. She is probably also the shortest woman I have ever met!

    On our last day of class we started talking, in my broken Spanish, about the tragic cycle for women in Guatemala (and as we know, all over the world). She explained to me how she is saddened by the fact that young girls in Guatemala are expected to care for their younger siblings while their parents are working, in turn missing school and not continuing on with their education or pursuing careers. Norma expressed to me with such confidence and hope that she believes the cycle can change, poco a poco (little by little), mujer por mujer (woman by woman). I sat across from this beautiful, motherly Guatemalan woman with awe, sharing in the common belief that women deserve the opportunity to pursue a career, earn a fair income and are respected members of society.

    Sadly, all around the world, women are continually being held back. We can all make a difference in this fight towards gender parity, poco o poco, mujer por mujer. This month, you have the opportunity to support our partner organization of the month, Kiran, with the purchase of the Veer necklace. By supporting a female artisan, you are providing a woman with the opportunity to earn an income so that she can provide food, an education and a better life for her family. Buying a product seems like such a small act but in reality, your purchase and support empowers a family to thrive and for women to continue to push barriers all around the world!

Today on International Women’s Day, how will you choose to make a difference? As the saying goes, “it takes a village.” Poco a poco, mujer por mujer.

 

This blog was written by WPMarket's Andra Bickel, Associate Director.

 WPMarket is excited to feature one of our partners, Kiran Social Enterprises.  

The following blog was written by Jane Wilson, founder of Kiran

All of March, our featured item will be the Kiran Veer Necklace, in junction with International Women's Day. More here!

 

India is a country of vibrant colour and culture alongside heartbreaking stories of unmet need. If you have heard of Kolkata, you may associate the city as the long time home and final resting place of Mother Teresa, a place steeped in literature, song, dance and well founded pride the rich Bengali culture, but where poverty reigns.  A lesser known fact is that beyond these stories of adversity are many strong women fighting to overcome circumstances in their lives that most of us would find it hard to imagine. At Kiran Social Enterprises, we are glad to be working with five of them.

Kiran (meaning 'ray of light or hope' in Sanskrit) was established in 2012 as a direct response to these particular women living in a busti (slum) community together and facing issues such as unfair working conditions or unemployment as well as the huge array of consequences of gender inequality. And what better way to address these issues than going right back to what is already in abundance in India – spirited colour, feminine resilience and beautiful artisanship.

At Kiran, we embrace these assets and combine them with training in multimedia jewelry design and craft. The result is a beautiful piece of Kolkata, ready for you to wear or gift on, embedded with the stories and strength of the five women who made it possible. In turn, our artisans are paid a living wage and provided with medical insurance and financial assistance as necessary. But perhaps even more crucial is the chance to spend time in community with each other, where laughter is plentiful and dignity is for everyone.

 

You can see how this is a partnership – our artisans and Kiran leadership work closely together, but we can't continue this transformative work without those who are willing to value the stories and artisanship enough to take a piece of it with them. We'd love for you to take a piece of Kiran with you, and to further close the gaps between us all. Many pieces of the Kiran jewelry range are based on the iconic Indian sari, so you are wearing a symbol of strength, resilience and traditional feminine India.  And we think you're going to love it!

Learn more about Kiran and our March campaign here