108 degrees. Air conditioner: blasting. Not a square foot to spare on the bustling streets of New Delhi. It was my third trip to India, and I was 15 years old.
I couldn't handle it. I couldn't believe there were children younger than me working under the blazing sun to feed their family instead of reading storybooks to feed their mind. It tore me apart to learn that the parents of over 60 million children in India can't afford to send their children to school. Why is the world like this?
At 15 years old, that question stung. Why is the world like this? I had no grasp of what poverty was before that day; everything I ever wanted was handed to me. I went to The Park School, a progressive school that gave me the opportunity to be free -- to live a life of learning. This life journey led me to South Africa, Bali, Ghana, Nicaragua, and Jamaica to explore that same question -- to learn about the way people live around the world.
It stung. Why? Why didn't those kids have the opportunity to learn? Why didn't these children have the opportunity to play? The answers began to flow in over time: their parents couldn't afford to send them to school; they couldn't afford to buy books. And toys? Well, toys were simply out of the question.
In Honduras, there is a company working to change that. A company that believes every single child should have the opportunity to play. Better. That believes that our environment matters, and that deforestation needs to end. And they believe that people should have the opportunity to earn a living wage, working in a place that feels like home.
Tegu has not only reinvented the wooden block (it's magnetic); it has shown that we can reinvent business to do good. For too long, we've been trying to outsmart poverty with policy. Tegu's team is showing day in and day out its commitment to make a lasting difference in Honduras, using business as a tool. The roots of change are in the way we run every last business, and in the way we treat every single employee. Tegu is showing that with a great product, not only can we build profitable businesses, but also we can build businesses that are geared towards making an impact above all else.
As I play with these wooden blocks, I can't help but wonder what the lives of those children in India would have been like if their parents had the opportunity to work for a company like Tegu. I can't help but wonder what that kind of opportunity could have done for their children. I can't help but smile at the idea of those kids playing with these very Tegu blocks -- building stories of promise and hope for their future.
From India to South Africa, Bali to Ghana, Nicaragua to Jamaica, and Honduras to the United States, every single child deserves the opportunity to grow up learning how to learn. Every child deserves the opportunity to live a life with purpose and dignity -- to spend time playing and learning. We at reweave believe that better-world business can create that opportunity. Through livelihood development, businesses like Tegu can help to change the way we do business, for good. If we succeed in this mission, we will inevitably find ourselves in a world we are all proud to live in -- a world in which everyone has the opportunity to live with purpose and dignity.
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