I enjoy meeting people for coffee. Our shared goal is to learn how to provide value to each other. There’s always a point where one of us picks up on a shared passion. A question is asked, and the conversation becomes a living thing. I can see you and you can see me. Once our coffee cups are emptied, everything comes down to one question, “How can I help you?” This question would be meaningless and transactional if we hadn’t just spent time investing in each other. When I ask, I am offering an ongoing commitment to you. I am asking, “How can I journey with you? If you join in that same commitment, together, we’ll each gain more ground in our journey.
It’s been a year since I began journeying with Sari Bari. Like many of you who have known and journeyed with Sari Bari for a much longer time, we’ve moved beyond the surface-level conversations. We’ve heard and seen the strength of the women of Sari Bari as they share their stories and invite us into a deeper commitment for shared freedom. I’ve learned and felt that mutual invitation into something more. SHE, each woman at Sari Bari, has already given me so much. Here’s just one example:
Supriya shares her story in a video interview (You can watch it here: https://vimeo.com/144463093). One phrase, in particular, has stuck with me and has impacted me deeply. She says, “I believe in joy… Today I am happy. I leave behind what has happened in my old life and look to the future.”
Now, “How can I help HER?” The biggest thing I have learned this past year is this: She is not asking me for anything. She is strong and capable. I will not save her. I will not prop her up. She can do that for herself. Instead, we have an invitation to join in something greater. We have an invitation to participate with her in the freedom journey. We too can believe in JOY. We can embody HOPE. We can recognize how we are each connected and choose to engage in ways that make it possible for us all to thrive.
What do we need to thrive? We need a structure — a foundation on which to stand. How do we sustain a foundation for women like Supriya? The women of Sari Bari invite your collaboration to support and sustain the infrastructure on which they now stand, ensuring freedom now, and for women who will work with us in the future.
Product purchases ensure the sustainability of business and the employment of women in Kolkata, but the journey of freedom requires more than a job offer. We can work together to support a foundation that facilitates employment opportunities and services available to the women of Sari Bari.
The structure to support the foundation for one woman's freedom is $5 per day. That’s an opportunity to choose freedom this week for $35. $140 for a month. $1,680 means SHE can choose to work for an entire year.
Think about it. $5 a day changes the story for one woman — today. It makes her journey possible, and it’s a good place to start
We invite you into this journey — not because of what you can do for the women of Sari Bari, but because of what we become together through our shared journey of freedom.
Executive Director, Sari Bari USA