Let's start with this ... The Mission of WO Design (W is for widows - O is for orphans) is to create and sell unique products, each with a tangible "give back" to help widows and orphans globally.
The 2015 Global Widows Report estimates the total number of widows globally to be 258,481,056 – a 9% increase since 2010. Of these, it is estimated that 14.8% of widows live in extreme poverty where basic needs go unmet - that's 38+ million widows globally that live in poverty ... Raising kids where basic day-to-day needs are unmet. Heartbreaking, really.
Although reflecting only broad projections, the estimated number of orphans globally currently reported by the US Government and UNICEF, include:
o 17.8 million children worldwide that have lost both parents (“double orphan”)
o 153 million children worldwide that have lost either one parent (“single orphan”) or both parents.
This does not count the estimated 2-8+ million children living in institutions. Nor do current estimates include the vast number of children who are living on the streets, exploited for labor, victims of trafficking, or participating in armed groups. Thus, global orphan statistics significantly underestimate the number of orphans worldwide and fail to account for many children who are among the most vulnerable and most in need of a family.
The question to answer in this post: why are you helping folks "half-way around the world" when there is so much need in America?
We get this question a lot ... and, truthfully, it's a valid one.
The Answer ... well, atleast OUR answer:
At WO, we are passionate about helping widows + orphans around the globe. If you look at the previous paragraphs ... it's very apparent that they need help! Our help. YOUR HELP.
So, how do we do that, in an effective and impactful way?
At WO, when we make a decision to place a form of funding or aid with a specific people group - we want to help people whom have chosen for themselves that it is time to rise up. We want to be strategic, we want to get behind a winning team. We want to contribute resources toward something good that is already in motion. Ethiopia (the current place of funding via WO products) is currently in a rough spot (draught), but it is improving. It is growing. It is on the move. In America, we don't even notice this unless we pay VERY close attention.
The average annual income, per citizen, in Ethiopia is $400 per year. Surprisingly, that number is IMPROVING over the past decade. Not necessarily because of foreign aid, but because Ethiopians have shown a collective desire to rise out of poverty ... from 30 years ago when the Communist regime was overthrown in their country.
When it comes to places that are making a difference, countries who are on a roll, heading in the right direction, I think you would be hard pressed to find one better than Ethiopia. Even though their annual income per citizen is only $400 - almost every year out of the past 10 years Ethiopia has been in the top 5 fastest growing economies in the world.
Lots of "good" changes in Ethiopia are happening. The people of that great country have decided enough is enough and they are ready for their turn ... those are the type of people that will rise out of poverty. Those are the type of people that WO is going to help.
And, this leads us to another point at WO ... Why give? Why help?
Because it does help, it does make a difference ... so long as we are strategic about it. Give where it counts, in a way that counts. That is what WO is about, helping where it counts. Taking the poorest of the poor in one of the hardest "spots" in life that you could imagine - being a Widows or an Orphan - and helping them when they need help. In a place where they can rise up as leaders and truly make a global difference.
We aren't here to create yet another non-profit with good intentions and vague results. We are here because we believe in the "commerce for good" model. We think we can produce unique USA-made dog toys and unique "people" products (USA-made leather belts, journals and wallets) that can be leveraged for a "bigger" purpose. Ultimately, we believe that we can leverage the power of consumers to make a difference around the globe. It shouldn't ALL be about the bottom line ... Why can't we do good globally, by doing good at business?
Are you with us?!
If so, make a difference with a WO product ... EVERY thing we make and sell has a direct tie to helping widows & orphans around the globe. For now, that is in Ethiopia. In the future, after we have filled up our partner organization in Ethiopia with support, we will strategically help others in other parts of the world too.
Thanks for reading.