I have often mentioned when discussing dignify & my work that I, personally, am more focused on the business aspect than the social justice results.
Partly this is because of my skills, interests, & affinities: my background is in marketing, I love visual aesthetics & design, and I am a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none personality that lends itself well to small business.
I also mention this to people partly because it brings things down to earth. When you tell someone you are working in “fair trade” and employing women who have been trafficked and sexually exploited, they tend to feel overwhelmed and somehow inferior. But I am no saint. I am a very unremarkable person, doing something I really enjoy, that happens to have very significant & remarkable results.
So, I keep my head down, focus on what I know (well, and on a lot of things I don’t know – running a business is like doing 18 jobs at once): photographing blankets, mailing packages, creative marketing, etc. Sure, I think about the women involved – I see their names, receive pictures from their office, & marvel over their handiwork.
But I forget about why they are there, at Basha, in that office, stitching their names.
I couldn’t watch it in one sitting. It is grave and it is true. As Basha wrote, “If you want to know why we work tirelessly to make sure Basha can expand throughout Bangladesh, this will show you why. It is graphic, it is disturbing, but it is an amazingly candid view of what is happening here. It ends stating the fact that once embroiled in prostitution, there is little to no chance of leaving. This is what Basha is changing, one blanket, one bracelet, at a time.”
It shook me back to the heart of the matter. It made me mad & sad & more inspired than ever. We will grow, we will sell, we will aid, we will empower. We need to. Join us:
Arthur Ashe said, “To achieve greatness, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.” For specific actions, click below.
(Photo courtesy of Friends of Basha)
Reflections from my experience visiting a Brothel in Bangladesh
As impossible as it is for me to believe now, earlier in 2020 I flew around the world. The primary objective was to visit Bangladesh and see, in person, the life-changing work in which dignify has had the privilege to participate over these past 8 years.
A friend recently asked on Facebook for “the most challenging and enlightening resource you have read/watched about the problem of racism in America”. This question received numerous responses within the day: half a dozen films, dozens of books, podcasts, courses, and other hubs of information resources (as well as the astute reply, “Conversation”, which is, of course, the most relational and human of “resources”).
I think that this experience was shared by most people in early June (as protests & concerns over racial injustice had reached a critical volume): so many resources, so much to learn.
But now, 2 months later… what have we done with the magnitude of worthy, fascinating, perspective-altering information & insights that have been brought to our attention?
And this it only in the area racial injustice. In other interests & concerns: How much do we know? How much have we learned & read & listened to already?
Approximately 25 years ago (in March 2020), we did a customer/reader survey. I asked what you like to read on the blog & one of the respondents suggested a post on "living generously". What a fabulous idea and perfect for this time in history!
[The title of this post implies some kind of authority or expertise — ha! Nope, no experts here... just some thoughts on generosity from a fellow human, trying to make my way!]