“Women can be the rock on which a freer, safer, more prosperous Africa is built. They just need the opportunity.” – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
On June 6th, ABC Carpet & Home was honored to receive a collection of women designers from Africa to share our cause-related platform for beauty and explore how we might be a portal for their collective creations.
For years, Lucilia Xerinda of Mozambique, was told her designs were outdated. “Coming to ABC Home opened my eyes,” she said. “I understand what it means for our traditional practices to be interpreted for the western marketplace.”
Xerinda, recently honored by Ambassador Leslie V. Rowe, is one of 47 women from 37 nations sponsored by the State Department under its African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP). Launched in 2010, AWEP is an initiative to help build economies of African countries by aiding women entrepreneurs in transforming their societies through owning and operating their own businesses and becoming a voice for social advocacy in their communities.
A decade prior in 2000, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) activated tangible incentives for African countries’ economies to build free markets. To boost women’s participation in these incentives, AWEP is an all-encompassing program, not only connecting these women with potential vendors, but also providing them education in communications and export operations to facilitate long-term business growth.
Illustrating our indigeneous icon, we presented some of our mission-based products such as Monkeybiz and Bluma to explain how vital it is to us at ABC to keep the authentic DNA of other native cultures alive.
In addition to ABC Carpet & Home, the women’s New York stops also included meeting with Diane Von Furstenberg, Mary von Herrmann, VP of Learning and Organizational Development at NBC Universal, Christina DosSantos Design, and Tory Burch before splitting into specialized sectors and traveling to various other U.S. locations. The group will reconvene in Washington D.C. for the U.S.– hosted AGOA forum with Hillary Clinton.
Our ABC Carpet & Home culture serves to identify opportunities that might align vision and values to help consciously impact the collective home, our planet. We are grateful for these women and AWEP for bringing their inspiration into our home.
“I bet you’re a different person now,” said Jennifer Mulli of Kenya.
“I bet you were one person when you started here at ABC Home and then you meet all these people and become exposed to different cultures and you are now a different person.”
It’s true. And it’s pretty amazing.
Learn more about AWEP and follow these women on their journey toward global unity and local prosperity.
-shari monique gab