Two years ago I began working at Mi Esperanza as the Production Manager, and little did I know the impact this job would have on my every-day life. “Ethical fashion”, “fair trade”, “conscious buying”, “fair wage”, are all terms I had heard, but never realized the magnitude they hold. My job at Mi Esperanza allows me to communicate between the brands we produce for and the women here in Honduras making their goods. I have the privilege of being involved in the whole process. We receive new design ideas, then our women bring those designs to life in samples, next the samples are sent to the brands for review, and finally our women produce large quantities for them. Witnessing the joy and excitement on our women’s faces when they receive their well earned paycheck at the end of the month is the highlight of what I do. At Mi Esperanza our women have sustainable, fair wage work…. and it’s changing lives.
There are countless stories from our women showing the profound effects that sustainable fair wage work has on, not only a woman, but entire families and communities. One of our women recently purchased a house for her and her young children, another of our workers is able to pay for her husband’s chronic medical problems, and another of our artisans is currently paying for her daughter’s second university degree. Here at Mi Esperanza, we are witnessing generational change and the cycle of poverty broken within our own classrooms and production facility. Our women can walk with their heads held a little higher and a little less burden to carry, knowing they are creating a brighter future for themselves and their families. This is what fair wage work does.
So I encourage you to ask the question, “who makes my goods?”. Every bag, shirt, pair of shoes, piece of jewelry that you own has a face behind it. The average garment worker makes $0.53 an hour, that is less than $5 a day, and 75% of those workers are women. Although often unknowingly, most of us are shopping and supporting the brands that are suppressing women and locking them below the poverty line. Next time you’re shopping, do a little research behind the brands you buy. Where do they make their goods? How much are they paying their workers? Are they producing in a healthy environment? These are the questions that we all should be asking the industry. It is so important to investigate the brands we give our money to, because with ethical fashion and fair wage production, we are elevating women to new heights and making strides in the fight against poverty. This is why I am so proud to be part of the Mi Esperanza team. I am confident in our brand, Hope Supply, and all of our partner brands that we are elevating and empowering women, and we are creating hope for the future.