Last night I did not dream of Mandalay. In fact, I have never dreamt of Mandalay, much as I would love to say that I had. But, on the other hand, I can say that I have been there. It’s a city that evokes a history of grace and grandeur and awakens the senses, with its colours, exotic smells and vibrancy. It is also a city that is home to much poverty. According to the World Bank, more than 32
Maurice (hubbie and founder of EG) has always had an affinity for Burma, having first visited the country in1982 when it was tightly closed to foreigners. He has long wanted to see if the Ostro Fayre Share Foundation might do good there, which is what led him to a region of Burma, famed for its rubies. Returning, he enticed me with gifts to join him in on his next trip to Mandalay. Not Burmese rubies, I hasten to add, but something even better; ingredients for a Burmese Tea Leaf Salad! Some women get jewellery; I get a variety of cabbage leaves! Still, I am not really complaining as honestly it’s worth going to Burma for their Tea leaf Salads alone!
But the true enticement was the opportunity to explore what EG loves doing best. Helping businesses do good to do well. And so there I was in Mandalay with this remarkable couple, Raihan and Thuzar, who have dedicated their lives to helping those in poverty around them. Our initiative is to help women, without any means of regular livelihood, acquire a sustainable income, by training them to assemble jewellery items, for an international jewellery company. The jewellery company, we believe will benefit from a dedicated team, doing work that can only be done lovingly by hand, whilst at the same time having the satisfaction of changing lives. It’s all in its early stages, and the women are still learning their craft, but when I spoke to them of their stories and lives, I could see that this opportunity was a life-line to them. They are part of the 32% and for them every day has been a struggle.
I look forward to sharing with you our progress and some of the many stories that we have heard along the way!