As many of you know, in March I traveled to Tegucigalpa, Honduras with two other members of the Petit Peony team as part of our Global Giving philanthropic mission. Over the course of five days, we packed and delivered food to impoverished areas, handed out blankets and Petit Peony clothing in the local hospital’s NICU and in villages, and built a house for a single mother. Petit Peony also employed women to sew 300 Petit Peony dresses, which we also distributed.
For me, this trip has been over two years in the making. I was first introduced to the co-founder and executive director of Mi Esperanza, Lori Connell, in September of 2014. I was looking for a way to produce the first ever Petit Peony collection. After realizing it would be way too expensive to initially produce in the US, finding Miesperanza felt like a gift.
I instantly felt a connection to Lori and her U.S. based non-profit’s mission to elevate Honduran women out of poverty through education, financial opportunity and meaningful employment in ethical and fair-wage fashion. The women of Mi Esperanza made my dream of launching Petit Peony a reality when they accepted my first order in October of 2014. To the 12 women who produced Petit Peony’s collection, this work meant they could send their children to school, provide for them, give them the tools they need to go on to University and TRULY break the cycle of poverty.
I loved that Petit Peony played a part in changing the lives of the women of Mi Esperanza in 2014, although it was not until my trip last month that I truly realized the impact each and every production has on these incredible women.
Before this trip, I knew through Petit Peony I wanted to continue to support the women of Mi Esperanza, but after meeting them in person and hearing their stories first hand, feeling their embraces and sharing tears of mutual gratitude, I am committed to producing a portion of the Petit Peony collections through Mi Esperanza, providing work to these women. It is no longer just gratitude or a mission; we are business partners, and I am so incredibly excited to continue our journey together.
After working in Honduras for five days, I realized that the only way to provide real change, is not to pack 100 food bags and hand them out to people in their homes in severely improvised villages; it’s not to give a little girl a brand new dress and feel her excitement and happiness to be given something; it’s not even to build a home for a single mother. All of that giving is meaningful and necessary. It gives each person we came in contact with HOPE for their future, but REAL CHANGE happens one woman at a time. Every time a woman completes her educational courses at Mi Esperanza, she is equipped to provide her family with REAL CHANGE. It took me seeing, smelling, and embracing poverty in the flesh to come to this realization and motivate me to be able to help change the world by elevating one woman at a time out of poverty.