Fifteens years ago Mi Esperanza was started and I was just a second grader not knowing the impact this organization would have on my life until seven years later. Fast forward to 2010, the summer before tenth grade when I first visited Honduras on a mission trip, not knowing the impact this place would have on my life. During the trip we built houses, visited orphanages, packed food to deliver to communities, but my favorite thing to do was volunteer at Mi Esperanza. I felt immediately at home at Mi Esperanza and related deeply with their mission and the work they do. From that moment on I spent the remaining two weeks jumping on any opportunity to serve there and I would continue to jump on any opportunity to visit Mi Esperanza in the following years.
Fast forward to 2013, I had just graduated from high school and was looking for a way to spend my summer before college. Lori mentioned over the course of the three previous summers about interning for Mi Esperanza for a few months over the summer. I finally had the chance to take her up on this opportunity and had an incredible summer working alongside Lori and the rest of the Mi Esperanza team.
Fast forward to 2014 then 2015 and I was back summer after summer interning at Mi Esperanza, doing life alongside the incredible women of Honduras, eating way too many plantain chips and drinking way too much Espresso Americano, and most importantly learning.
Learning about myself, learning about my vocation, learning about ethical fashion, learning about the importance of education to break the cycle of poverty, learning about the kind of woman I wanted to be thanks to role models like Lori, Julie, and Janet.
Fast forward to 2017, and I have made a New Year’s resolution to only buy clothing and jewelry that I know has been ethically and fairly made. The reason I decided to do this stems from my experiences at Mi Esperanza. There I got to see first-hand the impact a fair wage and safe workplace can have one a woman, her family, and ultimately a community. I want to only buy clothing and jewelry that uplifts not enslaves. I want to take stand against a fashion industry that adds to poverty instead of working alongside artisans to fix the problem. I want to make my purchases matter.
Fifteen years ago Mi Esperanza was started and I’m thankful it was. I’m thankful for the work Mi Esperanza is doing in Honduras, for providing some of the best summers of my life, for helping me further my passion for social justice, and for shaping me into the person I am today.