There are some companies that make money capitalizing on the thirst-buds of sweaty yogadorks to become mega-million dollar corporations. Then there are companies that dig deeper, starting from the ground up, initiating change by creating fair commerce in countries that need it the most. Meet IAM. a collective of the latter sort. The idea? A yoga-inspired company that develops sustainable commercial solutions to social problems. And they’re starting in Guatemala with Soulwares, “an innovative line of yoga bags & straps to help Mayan weavers earn a self-determined living wage and fund infrastructure projects in their communities.”
But, they need your help! They’ve raised $16,607 so far and have just 8 days to reach $45,000 to fund their first mission. It’s a steep challenge, we know! But every little bit counts. If you believe in the cause and want to help out, head over to their kickstarter page and contribute what you wish (and with kickstarter, you get gifts back in return!).
Read more about I AM. and the Soulwares Launch Project:
A brief history
The indigenous Mayans of Guatemala make up around 40% of the population. During the 36-year civil war, which ended in 1996, Mayans were a target of state sponsored violence.
Now, a large number of Mayan women are widowed, many are single mothers, and families are mired in poverty.
The importance of weaving to Maya women
For the Mayan weavers, backstrap weaving is an integral part of their daily life as well as their culture, identity, history and future. But this traditional art is at risk – women who have to find an alternative source of income outside the home no longer have time to weave, and no longer have work that allows them to be at home with their children.
‘There is so much need (poverty) and it’s our work. We don’t want to forget our grandmothers’ and grandfathers’ ways. Our kids will (be able to) go to school. I want them to learn, but to learn also about our life and culture and so it will never be lost, what we do.’ – Catarina Hernandez, San Juan
‘There is no certainty. We have no secure store where we can sell. We have no clients that buy from us.’ – Micaela Mendoza, San Juan
A sustainable solution
I AM. offers a sustainable solution – one that will allow the women to continue to work from home. A self-determined wage offers autonomy and security, and the I AM. HalfBack program ensures that the whole community benefits.
For more check out:
- How Yoga Boosted Coconut Water to $100 Million Gatorade Antichrist
- Go Upside Down to Lighten Up – Stress Less with Inversion Therapy
- Design the Ultimate YogaDork Tee and Give Back!
- Russell Brand Wears Katy Perry’s Clothes to Yoga Class
- Yoga for Osteoporosis: Prevention, Rehabilitation, Tips for Teachers Q+A with Dr. Loren Fishman and Ellen Saltonstall