Posted on March 24 2020
As we stand united as a global community during this critical time, we are reminded of the core mission of social enterprise: To uplift and empower the most vulnerable in the midst of difficult circumstance- to plant seeds and till soil in uneven terrain.
There is a second part to this that is often overlooked, but that has always been central to Lotus Sky: Offering our global sisterhood solidarity, hope, a sense of justice, and knowledge that your little bracelets shimmering on your wrists are making a difference for women- that at every level of our production chain, we are making choices to benefit and uplift women.
Those of you who have been following us for years know that it was during the earthquakes of 2015 in Nepal that we made a choice as a collective social enterprise to train displaced women on our beadwork crocheted bracelets, such that when we finally moved out of our makeshift tent camps and the borders re-opened 8 months later, Lotus Sky bracelets became our main product line.
In a male-dominated society, it was many displaced and refugee women in the Lotus Sky community who became the primary breadwinners for their families during the earthquake recovery.
The concept of the New Fair Trade highlights that women bear multiple economic burdens in a country like Nepal that traditional economic models- even traditional fair trade models- sometimes overlook.
Because Lotus Sky was founded by college student women, this was apparent to us in a way that might elude men, especially men from western societies.
Firstly, women with limited family resources must often pay for their own educations. In a country like Nepal, this can be true even in grade school. If mothers want to see their daughters complete school, they often must bear this cost themselves.
Secondly, women bear the cost of many household expenses and medical care for their children. At the beginning of Lotus Sky, we learned quickly that refugee women who could not open a bank account in Nepal were eager for a way to safely save money independent from their husbands so that they could take care of household essentials that might otherwise not have been prioritized. It is so often mothers who gather the money to take their sick child to the hospital.
The principle that emerged from these observations was that of an investable wage- a wage necessary for women to both fulfill their own dreams while also carrying their families. We have based our entire social enterprise model on the concept of an investable wage and have shared this principle with many other women's organizations and collectives in Nepal.
We know that for the many women around the globe who have supported our small, grassroots social enterprise, the quality and beadwork standards that have become synonymous with Lotus Sky represent to you something more: The knowledge that these standards are possible because of our investable wage model- a model that uplifts women and gives them the resources, stability and security necessary to achieve greatness.
Nobody in Lotus Sky has a business degree. Or a marketing degree. We don't even have a crafting degree.
What we do understand is sisterhood. That when one of us is down, it impacts us all.
Our studio is temporarily closed while Nepal is on lockdown. However, we understand that right now as the women in Nepal stand ready to yet again become the main economic support for their families with husbands and brothers out of work for many months to come, we are in solidarity with so many of our customers all over the world who are facing a similar reality.
Lotus Sky bracelets have never been about bracelets and only bracelets. They have always symbolized global sisterhood- women helping one another, women recognizing our essential unity across political boundaries and space.
Please know that we, your sisters, are sending you all healing, peace, and whatever you need as we face a new global reality together.
Wherever you are in the world, we are all sisters under one sky. And we will get through this together.