Over a year into this global crisis, we know that communities are struggling from more than just the deadly virus. Especially in fiscally poor communities, the effects of an economic shut down have continued to strain resources. In the communities where our artisan partners work, most people survive off of the little money they make each day (often <$1-2), with no savings to fall back on. When they're forbidden from working, they have no resources to buy food for their families, life-saving medicine, or follow CDC basics like "wash your hands."
We are grateful to be able to say that our artisan partners are safe, taking the necessary precautions to stay healthy, and have the resources they need during this time. Unfortunately, we can't say the same thing about their entire communities. In April of 2020, we initiated Emergency Funds for our artisan partners; money that artisans are independently deploying to those in their community who need it most. We are fortunate to work with 8,000 changemaking women, situated in these marginalized communities across the globe, who are working hard to look after their neighbors. This is no-strings-attached funding-- because our partners know best what their communities need, and the spending of this funding should not be determined by those outside of the communities.
In the last year, we've been able to send $110,000 to our artisan partners, which they've distributed in forms of food, medicine, cleaning supplies, oxygen tanks, even re-vamping workshop spaces to become COVID relief centers. Our partners have really shown up for their neighbors and done some incredible work, and we're proud to support these initiatives.
Any funds donated by you will be sent in full to our artisan partners, so they can get resources into the hands of those in their communities that need it most. We're also donating 100% of mask sales to these Emergency Relief Funds.
Your contributions are life-saving. Thank you for believing in the power of investing in women, and for being a critical part of helping grow this network to "do the most good" during this difficult time.
A note from Fair Anita's founder, Joy, dated April 9, 2020:
Hey there, beautiful Fair Anita community,
I've been meaning to write this note to you for a while now, but I haven't had the words to describe what I was witnessing. As you may know, after being violently robbed of my passport/money and then the Peruvian President closing all borders due to COVID-19 threats, I was quarantined in Chimbote, Peru for three weeks. I stayed in Anita's home during the quarantine, not allowed outside for 22 days, until I finally fought my way back to the US late Monday night. More on my story is here, featured on the local news. While the overnight shut down of the entire country came as a surprise to us all, the first country to close its borders both ways, I understand why the President did it. With a lacking healthcare system, a massive outbreak in Peru would be completely unbridled and tragic. He first announced a forced quarantine from March 15-31, then extended it to April 12, and just extended it again yesterday to April 26. With each passing day, he adds additional restrictions: no one is allowed outside past 6pm and not at all on Sundays, masks are required (yet impossible for many to find / afford), you're only allowed out of your home to go to the market / pharmacy / bank -- and if you disobey any of these rules, the consequences are intense: fines, jail time, whipping... military even have license to shoot. It's scary. Like, really scary. But the President is doing his best to protect his country from the virus, and I get that -- and the scarier the consequences, the more likely people will obey the rules, which are essentially forcing social distancing in communities where the concept is nearly impossible. On the ground, what we quickly started realizing was the economic implications that this shut down had on the poorest families. So many families live on whatever money they make that day (<$1-2), so when the country goes on lockdown, their livelihoods are halted. They have no way to get food for their families, life-saving medications, water or sanitizer to stop the spread of the virus. It quickly became obvious that if the virus didn't kill people, the economic response to it very likely would. So, why am I telling you this? Because it's what I was witnessing face-to-face in Peru, and it's the reality that our artisan partners continue to endure. If it looks like this in Peru, it's likely to look similar in India or Vietnam or Ethiopia or Mexico. As always, marginalized communities are disproportionately affected by crisis. I'm still working to understand what Fair Anita's best response can be to this global disaster, but I'll share what we're already doing. We're paying upfront payments to all of our artisan groups (even more so than usual), paying them now for orders they won't start making for a few months, so they have access to capital in this time of emergency. I am grateful to be able to say that our artisan partners are safe, taking the necessary precautions to stay healthy, and have the resources they need during this time. Unfortunately, I can't say the same thing about their entire communities. However, we are initiating Emergency Funds for our artisan partners: money that artisans are independently deploying to those in their community who need in most. We are fortunate to work with 8,000 changemaking women, situated in these most marginalized communities across the globe, who are working hard to look after their neighbors.In the last week alone, we raised $5k that was given to our artisan partners in Peru, who have already gotten 3 weeks worth of food and cleaning supplies to 200+ of Chimbote's poorest families. And they still has plenty of that money left to keep helping! We're looking to replicate this "underground helper network" of sorts, and we would love for you to be a part of it.For now, just wanted to let you know that the reality of what's happening in the world goes SO much further beyond our daily frustrations here: it's so much bigger than any of us. But what I do know to be true, what I've witnessed over and over again, is the incredible changemaking power of women. Women investing in one another, being generous with one another, fighting to make sure their beloved communities are safe. Thank you for fighting alongside us.Stay safe + keep fighting,
Joy McBrienFounder, Fair Anita