“Just Say Yes!” This life motto has steered me into some pretty awesome (and sometimes super challenging) situations. However, to continue the cliches, “when opportunity knocks”, I do love to open the door, and living in the developing world for the last 14 years has provided me with TONS of opportunities to get involved in giving back and making the world a better place. In 2016, I’m focusing my community volunteering efforts on an exciting new project with the Mariposa DR Foundation.
These are the main goals of the Upcycled Sails Mariposa Project.
- Help the sailing racing community “green” their activity by upcycling old sails into school backpacks and stylish work bags
- Provide new jobs and sewing skills training for local women and girls of Cabarete
- Invest money from selling the bags into the community focusing on environmental education at the Mariposa DR Center for Girls
We have amazing partners in this mission. On the international front, we have professional kiteboarder and racing sailboat captain Brock Callen and the 11th Hour Racing Foundation. Brock is the driving force. He saw our upcycled kiteboarding kites project (Kiters 4 Communities) and convinced me we could do it on a larger scale with sailing. He also connected me with the 11th Hour Racing, a division of the Schmidt Family Foundation. Eric Schmidt is the CEO of a tech company you may have heard of: Google.
Here in Cabarete I immediately identified the perfect candidate for lead seamstress, master sewing trainer, Mama Mason. She built a great business in Cabarete repairing kiteboarding kites that get torn in the wind and waves. I’ve loved working with her for the last ten years.
She’s an inspiration. Born on a local farm, she completed only two years of formal education yet managed to teach herself to read and write. As a young girl she was given a goat, which she sold for 55 pesos. Mama Mason took the money and bought her first sewing machine. It’s an-old-fashioned pedal style tool that she still uses today. Check her out in this short video.
Together with the Mariposa DR Foundation team I’ll be working hard this year. The goal? End generational poverty by investing in girls and women right here in Cabarete. We’re doing it by upcycling old racing sails from sailboats and teaching Mariposa mothers to sew. At the same time launching a sustainable social business.
Watch this space for news about product launches and how you can participate.
About the Mariposa DR Foundation
A NGO working in Cabarete educating and empowering girls to create sustainable solutions to end generational poverty.
About the 11th Hour Racing
A program of the Schmidt Family Foundation, the 11th Hour Racing team establishes strategic partnerships within the sailing and marine communities to promote collaborative, systemic change for the health of the marine environment.
About Kiters 4 Communities
Upcycling unusable kite gear. Providing jobs, empowerment through education and job training and reducing the environmental impact of kiteboarding.