It’s always been important to us to help empower women. We’ve seen how barriers to resources can affect the quality of life for women everywhere. It’s also important to us to meet the individual women who are helping make Karité a success.
This summer, we traveled to northern Ghana to tour the women-run co-operatives where the shea nuts for our shea butter are harvested and processed.
Our intention was to learn about the women’s day-to-day responsibilities and the challenges they face both at work and at home. We also wanted to learn about the opportunities for growth in the shea industry and how we could support that growth.
What we didn’t expect was just how much we’d learn...or that we’d end up kickstarting a brand new initiative.
Processing shea nuts isn’t easy work.
Refining shea nuts into usable butter is a complicated and often difficult task that requires heat, water, and hands-on work.
The process begins with harvesting the nuts from the shea trees that the co-operative owns. The workers harvest the nuts by hand under the hot Ghanaian sun.
However, not only are they contending with the heat, there are also snakes, scorpions, and other insects in the area.
Dealing with these elements without the proper protection didn’t sit right with us. After all, part of the reason we started Karité was to be able to support other women and build strong communities.
Karité Gives Back
After seeing their harvesting conditions and understanding their needs, we decided to use a portion of Karité sales to purchase handmade wide-brim sun hats and rubber gloves for the women working in the fields.
Our hope is that by protecting these women from the elements, we can make their work safer and more comfortable. Our ultimate goal is to make sure these women continue to grow with our company and can continue to provide for their families.
One of the goals for this visit was to talk with the women about other issues they face living in this area.
For instance, we learned about their transportation methods (or lack thereof). Many of these women walk more than three miles a day to and from the shea tree farms wearing only flip-flops. Combine the physical labor with zero arch support and you can imagine how weary they were at the end of each day.
Once again, we feel compelled to support the women of Karité.
Enter our new initiative: Shea for Soles.
We’ve always wanted to give back to our communities. The women-led co-operatives that are so integral to our growth are just some of those communities. To help them, we’ve created a plan to give back in a tangible way.
Our new goal is to donate at least 100 pairs of shoes to these women in the next six months.
We’re calling it Shea for Soles.
And we want you to help.
Here’s what you can do:
Buy a Karité hand or body cream; we will give part of every single sale toward the shoe fund. We’ll keep this going until we hit our goal.
Share your stories of doing good and giving back by using our new hashtag, #sheaforsoles.
Follow us to learn about our next give-back project. (Hint: It involves bicycles.) We’ll be posting a sneak peek soon—so don’t miss it!