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Growing Together

by Sally Anne Harrell

“The women working at Sibimbe said they feel the wind when they are learning, helping others, praying, and being with family. Those are the basic universal simple truths that women around the world proclaim.”

The Sibimbe river runs between mountains and marshlands, on hot humid days, struck by rain and sunshine in the countryside of Ecuador. That river, known as a refreshing spot to many, is the origin name for our Global Partner of five years. Sibimbe is a sewing co-op, made up of five strong and courageous women, working to make a healthy income for their families.

During our most recent visit to Ecuador to implement strategic planning and product development training, we raised the question of what the women of Sibimbe wanted for their future and growth. All the knowledge and expertise in one room for the seminars did not compare to the direction and strength shown when Gina, the head of Sibimbe spoke on behalf of the women. Before our meeting proceeded, she asked to share what the women’s hopes and dreams were for the future.

They want to be sustainable; to sew and sell to their own community. They want to be one of the first embroidery sewing co-ops in their province. They want to have the capacity to hire more women with more consistent work opportunities. With the assistance of the Accelerator Program and funders, this could be a reality. With the simple request of an embroidery machine, and how much of a change that will make in their organization, it was clear that answers directly from the women are often more simple than months of planning and training.

The women of Sibimbe know what they want and need to succeed, and together we have been able to conquer some roadblocks that have allowed them to achieve those goals. We are excited to say that within a month, new product design was created. Now Thistle Farms is selling Sibimbe’s eye pillows, hand-sewn and designed to provide relief from headaches, relax muscles, and ease sinus pressure. Each pillow is filled with flax seed and is a great carrier agent when combined with a few drops of your favorite essential oil. The growth and progress from our global partners in our Accelerator Program is powerful because growing together makes all of us stronger. 

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