This year has been one of fortifying the foundation of our work, deepening the impact, and growing participation in the movement. Read on for a year end glimpse into some of 2011′s highlights and where our sights are set for 2012!
Fortifying the Foundation
This past year has seen each of our four partners grow in their experience as they have been supplying over 15 products. Each business is making more than one item and growing in their ability to build their businesses in supplying to ZOË and to others.
It is very exciting, and a great example of enhanced capacity to do business is with our friends in Guatemala. Recently they made their first shipment this year directly to ZOË’s client in Paraguay for their tradeshow without the need for quality control support. This is indeed a big step forward and shows that this team will be able to continue to expand their business.
Deepening the Impact
We are so excited that we have been able to give multiple orders to each partner, helping to make the workflow more consistent for the teams. This is a key part of our focus to ensure that people are working consistently in each business.
We were also able to have a small part in the realization of the dream of the medical clinic in Dharmapuri through income generated and a donation. The ribbon was cut at a ceremony in October this year and this was a key milestone in the life of this community in Dharmapuri. You can read more about it in the archive.
We saw amazing growth in the movement here in North America as over 32 new companies decided to take the challenge.
There aren’t words to describe the impact of their decisions on the lives of the people working in the communities. It seems like such a small trivial thing to us, an order for 100 portfolios here or 5,000 pens there. We are hard pressed to understand it here, and even at ZOË we often fall into the thinking that we are not doing enough yet.
Fortunately, each time we get an update about a family’s progress hearing how they have invested their income to multiply and extend it’s impact, or a child’s progression to the next grade in school it all comes back into clear focus.
If its real lasting change then the number of people we impact can’t be too small and it can never be too big.
Much More to Do
So the little movement that could has a long way to go. As with all things that are worth doing, we are slowly and surely increasing our impact in a way that will last. Future generations in the villages will look back and know that their mother worked in a village production unit and that this funded their education. They will know that had it not been for this, they might still be working the fields for very little pay and with little opportunity for growth or change. And they will know that people in companies half way around the world played a key role in shaping their future.
In the next year, our sights are set very high because the need and the urgency of the need is very high. We have developed a model together with our partners and we know how to help local leaders establish small businesses. And so now it’s time to grow, to establish rural regional cooperative units that are able to supply very large volumes on contract to companies who would choose to source items like employee uniforms, pens for hotel rooms, or one or two items within their product line from these centres.
There is great potential to create enhanced value for companies in purchasing a staple item like employee store aprons. They could buy them at a competitive price while at the same time help to create a rural regional economy providing dignified employment and a future for thousands of people. This is just one example, the possibilities are only limited by our imaginations and somebody has to supply those aprons.
So stay tuned for some fun new gift and promotional product options, and please do get in touch with us if you would like to share some input, or explore a way in which your organization could get involved.