Toronto, ON–DHL Express Canada hosted a breakfast event Tuesday morning in advance celebration of Mother’s Day. The event featured presentations by Roxanne Joyal, CEO of Me to We, and founder of Me to We Artisans, and DHL Express Canada President Greg Hewitt.
The event took place at the Toronto store Me to We, where Joyal talked about the partnership between the social enterprise and DHL Express Canada.
DHL Express Canada and Me to We Artisans have teamed up to celebrate mothers around the world with a Me to We Artisans’ Neno Mom Bracelet, a line of original accessories handcrafted by Maasai mama artisans in Kenya.
The bracelet is sustainably produced using locally sourced materials, and helps support these mothers in raising healthy children. With every bracelet purchased DHL will donate $5 to provide a mother and child in a Free The Children community overseas with one health clinic visit, the company said.
“We’re here to celebrate mothers and Mother’s Day, and we’re proud to be a part of the Neno bracelet. It is our philosophy to be a socially conscious company, and we are proud to be part of this new Mother’s Day initiative,” said Greg Hewitt, President of DHL Express Canada. “The new program will enable us to continue to help the Me to We Artisans and make a significant impact on children and families across the globe, which includes basic healthcare and education to those who need it most.”
“Having worked side by side with these talented women through Me to We Artisans since 2010, I’ve seen that every dollar earned by a mother directly impacts her home, her children and her community. However, there is still a large part of the population that doesn’t have access to basic needs, like health care. In Kenya, less than 30% of the population has access to basic maternal and child health services,” said Joyal.
Me to We provides people with better choices for a better world,including life-changing international volunteer trips, sustainably made clothing and accessories, leadership training programs and materials,an inspirational speakers’ bureau, and books that address issues of positive change. Half of Me to We’s net profit is donated to charity partner Free The Children, while the other half is reinvested to grow the enterprise and its social mission, Joyal noted.
To date, DHL Express has helped Me to We ship well over 100,000 Me to We Artisans products, Hewitt noted.
“We are a big global brand and there are a number of pillars to our strategy, and a social conscience underpinning it,” Hewitt noted.
DHL puts on global volunteer days every September, and spearheads a “Go Teach” program driving education forward around the globe, a “Go Help” program that is tied in with disaster relief, and a “Go Green” program on environmental consciousness.
“Since launching the (Me to We) partnership we have recognized that the cost of shipping is expensive for not-for-prots. We have provided free shipping for Me to We and Free the Children, including medical supplies, solar lamps, and donated boxes. With free shipping more prot is going back to the (Masai) mamas,” Hewitt said.
Since 2012, DHL Express has been the official logistics partner for Free The Children and Me to We. In partnership, DHL Express provides in-kind support to Free The Children and Me to We’s headquarters and countries of operation overseas.
With its worldwide network, DHL Express has distributed imperative resources and supplies to Free The Children communities around the world, including lifesaving health equipment, medical supplies, school supplies and numerous other donation items to those in need. In this past year, DHL shipped over 100 boxes to Free The Children communities in Haiti, Ecuador, Kenya, India and Nicaragua, the company said.
Hewitt has also found ways to contribute personally, travelling to Kenya and going into the Masai Mara to celebrate the Me to We partnerships and to mark the one-year anniversary.
He also assisted in the laying of concrete at the dormitory of the Kisaruni girls’ school, and the DHL breakfast event also featured a presentation by the school’s Headmistress and a Grade 11 student, Magdalene Resiato, who is 16 years old and represents a new generation of Kenyan girls who are becoming leaders in their communities. Her goal is to become a neurosurgeon, and her connection to the Me to We Artisans connection is via her mother who is in the Artisans program.
Kisaruni all-girls secondary school principal Carol Mogere said the impact of the Me to We artisans opportunity “is very clear.”
The Masai mothers who become part of the Me to We artisans are better equipped to offer further education to their children, and especially to their daughters, she said.
“When the girls clear grade 8 most of them cannot not access high school education. In June 2010 we had a meeting of education stakeholders asking what kind of high school did they want for their girls. The lifestyle at the school is a concept of holistic education, and we work with three communities to encourage interaction between the ethnic groups,” she said. Mogere has been the principal at Kisaruni since it opened in 2011. Passionate about youth empowerment, Mogere has worked tirelessly to mentor her students to reach their potential and pursue their dreams.
Many of the students’ mothers are in the Artisans program which has help fund the schooling for their daughters
“There’s always more we can do and as business leaders we need to think more outside the box. It is difcult to give money today but there is more we can do if we think creatively. I’ve got trains, trucks and people in every corner of the world. Removing costs from Me to We helps them put more back into their organizations. I have 954 people in the organization across Canada who can encourage their families to get involved in these programs,” Hewitt said.
Hewitt will visit India this August to see how he can provide help there.
Joyal said she founded Me to We “because when we were speaking to young people they all wanted to know how they could purchase things responsibly. Me to we currently has many divisions. The core division offeres youth trips to seven countries overseas, and leadership camps in Canada, Mexico and around the world, an outreach department and a consumer engagement department. The communities are there to help themselves and Free the Children is not there for charity,” she said.
The Me to We artisans are now employing 1000 Masai women, who work in structures that are inherent to the community, with each group running its own treasury.
“It’s not just about being able to provide employment. We have done nancial literacy with these women. They know they have the support of higher peers within that group. Everything is hand-made with love, and h
alf of all prot is donated directly to Free the Children,” said Joyal.
She said Me to We offers great opportunities to volunteer and to connect with the families, schools and stakeholders, whether on an individual, student or corporate basis.
“It’s also about adventure and discovery,” said Joyal