WHY WE STARTED
Nada Jones and Caroline McGraw, two friends with a heart for women and for change came together to see what they could do to marry their respective backgrounds for good.
The two wondered out loud and imagined the change, sustainable change, that could come from connecting designers from the US with artisans in Africa. What could come of uniting a team of extraordinary creatives with skilled artisans in need of a platform and a global marketplace?
Caroline is a social change maker, producer and documentarian who has been traveling and working in Swaziland for over a decade and in Mozambique for the last 4 years. She believes that when you connect people, you create community and when you create community, you inspire the change that is needed in the world. Nada is a business consultant and coach, an author, speaker and advocate for women realizing their potential at any age. She believes true liberation comes from living out your call and serving others.
Together they have created project RAIZ.
Raiz means "root" in Portuguese and this whole project is rooted in the hope of what is possible when we come together.
WHY WE'RE DIFFERENT
There is no shortage of entrepreneurial creatives that would love to collaborate to help those in need. Well intentioned social platforms are cropping up left and right but the problem is the learning curve is steep. One of the most difficult hurdles for these designers with a heart is knowing where to begin, where to go, who to trust and who to partner with.
project RAIZ has the benefit of a decade of relationships cultivated by Caroline McGraw. The people of Swaziland and Mozambique have come to know, trust and love her after years of visiting, organizing relief programs, partnering with local organizations and sharing their stories through her documentary. These connections are the foundation of project RAIZ. Caroline knows where to go, which artisans groups can be teamed up with which designers, and how to find and hire project managers that can supervise the artisans and stay connected with their US designer counterparts.
In addition to connections, we realize that both the artisans and the designers and their respective businesses need to be served and supported. The sustainability of each relies on the other. We believe this kind of attention is paramount to the success of these partnerships. In advance of our trip, Nada Jones meets with each designer to help discover the opportunities and navigate the obstacles that are inherent in these social collaborations. In addition to working stateside with our team of change makers, Nada will host a workshop for the artisans in each country. The purpose is to ensure that the collaborations being developed are committed to great design, sustainability, meeting fair trade guidelines, and the financial health and responsibility to both the artisans in country and the US designers bottom-line.
It's through our connections and collaborations that we hope to bring artisans access to the global marketplace.
projectRAIZ was created to connect a group of leading women designers and social entrepreneurs from the US with rural artisans in Swaziland and Mozambique. This US based collective looks to empower, employ and support several cooperatives of new designers from these African countries and provide them access to a global marketplace.
US TEAM of CHANGE MAKERS :
Annie Walker / Tribe of Dreamers
Carley Rudd / Carley Rudd
Caroline McGraw / NNL Films
Jen Boschma / Tribe of Dreamers
Lauren Wallis / Youme Clothing
Nada Jones / ltd365
Rachel Brown / Rachel Brown Art
Sarah Contrucci Smith / Ara-Collective
For more information on future trips or how to support this project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org