Last week, while attending the annual DENT the Future Conference in Sun Valley, I had the good fortune of meeting with Wendy Bird.
Wendy is the founder of Pearls with Purpose.
The chance to meet someone like Wendy is one of the reasons I enjoy attending the DENT conference, as she epitomizes the conference’s celebration of people who are “denting the future.”
Wendy, a certified gemologist, had a particular passion for pearls. This passion took her on buying trips to Southeast Asian countries. These buying trips brought her face-to-face with the living conditions of the women from whom she was buying pearl necklaces.
She met women who were forced to make choices between education for their children or putting food on the table, or in worst case scenarios, selling a child into a life as a sex worker.
These were women who, given a choice, would choose self-reliance over handouts. Given an opportunity, they would apply themselves to work that could help them do better for the families.
Motivated by a sense of purpose, Wendy set up Pearls with Purpose to help train women in the Philippines, India and Cambodia to make pearl and gemstone jewelry. Wendy also built a network to help them move the product out of these countries without the use of middlemen.
The results, in some cases, has been to raise women in these countries from making $.50 per day, to as much as $20 to $50 per day. Please watch the video, above, to learn more about Pearl with Purpose.
If you like natural pearls, I recommend visiting the Pearls with Purpose online shop to purchase something for yourself or a gift for family or a friend. Doing so helps directly support women trying to make a better life for themselves and their children.