Like yours, my Facebook feed is full of the beaming or bewildered faces of little sweeties returning to school.
Parents are buzzing. My niece and nephews have been giddy in anticipation this last week. There is so much promise for them! Children learning, parents hustling to make sure their children get opportunity… it is inspiring. It has inspired me as I created Bézi.
Bézi’s passion is three things:
Here is the connection: Bézi uses fine, nutrient-dense ingredients that rural women harvest from trees growing wild in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Through every purchase, Bézi customers help harvesters earn income so they can afford to send their children to school.
In the rural areas where our ingredients are harvested, families are subsistence farmers. They eat what they can grow or catch. They barter for basic goods. They build mud huts by hand on land apportioned by chiefs. But they need cash to send their children to the nearest schools and to pay for school uniforms, books and boarding. No cash means no school.
Like us, the harvesters have dreams for their children. They have friendships. They have hustle. And they live among rare, wild trees that yield exquisite skin care ingredients. The mamas in these areas might have little leverage: no property, little education, weak markets and very little economic power. Many are widowed.
Yet through trade with customers like you and me, these women are building a life of greater promise for their children. It is simple. It is powerful. It is nurturing. Just like our Bézi products.
A week ago I had the privilege of visiting an innovative secondary school for girls in rural Tanzania. The girls learned math and science by designing their own bathroom and shower block on campus. They are building an aquaponics system to sell fish to the local tourism market. The girls are confident. They have plans for their lives. Their eyes are bright and their voices strong.
Normally the girls would be out of school, married off early or expected to trade sex for basic material goods or school fees. It is shocking to think about their prospects compared with those of the little sweeties in our Facebook feeds. But some of the parents in the area are saying “not my girls.” And some of the students are saying “life can be different.” They create new prospects for better lives by making a way for the girls to stay in school.
Mamas making money. Kids in school. A gorgeous combination.