When I first started The Ethical Silk Company, my main priorities were the quality and nature of the silk and tailoring I’d be using. After I found the beautiful Ahimsa silk, I visited the Presentation Sisters in Theni, India, who run a tailoring unit as part of a Women’s Federation. It was crucial that I personally visited these manufacturing locations, in order to see for myself exactly where the silk was going to be made and where the silk would then be tailored.
I had the pleasure of meeting the tailoring ladies at the Nano Nagle tailoring unit and Sr. Severina, who would overlook the project for me. While there, I also visited the Jeevan Jyothi Centre, a hospital for people with AIDS/HIV run by the Presentation Sisters. I was so moved by their tireless work here and in particular the work of Sr. Anastasia that I felt it was important to support this local hospital, especially as our products were to be tailored in this town. Overall, AIDS/HIV in India is decreasing, with a 57% reduction in the infection rate since 2001 and a 29% decline in the rate of HIV/AIDS related deaths since 2007. However many still struggle with the repercussions of this infectious disease. The work the Jeevan Jyothi Centre does is one shining example of how we can fight the spread of HIV/AIDS further and support those in need.
I also chose an Irish charity that would benefit and decided on Focus Ireland as I’ve always supported their work. Focus Ireland’s aim is ‘to advance the right of people who are homeless to live in a place they can call home, through quality services, research, and advocacy’. The charity works to ‘prevent young people, adults and families from becoming, remaining or returning to homelessness’. According to this charity roughly 5,000 Irish people are homeless at one time or another. This is a frightening statistic. Additionally 100 million people worldwide are homeless. By supporting the fantastic work that Focus Ireland do we can help to reduce this number.
Supporting charities such as Focus Ireland and the Jeevan Jyothi AIDS Centre is something we’re very proud of. Here in Ireland, we’re perceived as being some of the most giving and charitable people in the world. This has been proven statistically with Ireland being one of the top countries globally for charitable donations according to the world giving index. Naturally then, when establishing The Ethical Silk Company, I believed that introducing a corporate donation policy as part of our mission statement was important.
The Ethical Silk Company gives 10% of its profits to these two charities, with each receiving 5%. Although we’re a small company, as we develop and our success grows, these worthy charities shall benefit accordingly. So, whether a purchase of a silk pillowcase, scarf or our ‘Gift for Life’ is for yourself or someone else, each sale is contributing on a wider scale and making a difference in the lives of others.