Last Saturday I was walking along the beach with a friend, discussing life, love and all that goes with it. We noticed that dotted around were little coloured lollipop sticks, with a note saying “if you found me take me home” and on the other side a little quote. And this was mine “You must be the change you wish to see in the world”. I loved how apt it seemed for so many of the topics of conversations I’d had recently with different people, ranging from what we can do to help reduce our carbon footprint on the world, to avoiding palm oil in products, to finding time to volunteer, or even just whether or not you can always afford to buy organic veg! But whatever it is you’re battling with, I think it’s so important to remember this little phrase. YOU have to be the change you wish to see. Even if it feels like your actions are only a drop in the ocean. Because if we all try to be true to what we want to fight for, then surely some good will come of it??
I thought this would be a good opportunity to tell you about a few of the things we do here at Sweet Cecily’s to try and do our part in making a difference.
One of the main ingredients we use in our products is Shea Butter.
Where we source our ingredients from is very important to us and as a result we try to purchase our raw ingredients from sustainable, fair trade suppliers.
Our Shea Butter gets picked from the Vitellaria trees and processed in a village called Pusu-Namogo, which is in upper east Ghana by a cooperative which mainly employs vulnerable women.
The cooperative seeks to empower women, children and the elderly people of Pusu-Namogo to improve their quality of life by providing employment, training and even respite care for the elderly or infirm. They are currently working towards rebuilding the primary school with some of the funds that come from the export of the Shea butter that is processed and sold from the village. As such, this may not be the cheapest source of the product we could find, but we are more than happy to pay the real price of something, and support real people.
We are really proud to say we have just got the seal of approval from The Living Wage Foundation. This means we have made a commitment that everyone working at Sweet Cecily’s, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors; will receive a minimum hourly wage of £8.45 – significantly higher than the national minimum wage of £6.95 and the new minimum wage premium for over 25s of £7.20 per hour introduced this April.
The Living Wage is an hourly rate set independently and updated annually. The Living Wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living using the ‘Minimum Income Standard’ for the UK. Decisions about what to include in this standard are set by the public; it is a social consensus about what people need to make ends meet.
OUTSIDE OF WORK
On a personal level, I have been feeling more and more as though I need to try and carve some time out to do the things I feel are important. It all started when someone I know shared a video from Kindness.Org about how many people there are suffering from loneliness, especially the elderly. After a little cry, I signed up to email an elder, via the website. The concept behind Kindness.org is that collectively, our ripples of kindness will create massive waves of change.
I’ve often joked that perhaps I could ‘adopt a granny’ as mine are no longer with us, and I miss the interaction with someone who has such life experience and could share their stories (and hopefully knitting tips) with me. However, after months of saying I would do something about it, i’d never ‘found the time’. I then realised, I have to MAKE the time. So next week I am having my first meeting with a charity called Caring Together, who operate in the local area and among many other things, provide a visiting service for elderly people living alone. As a volunteer, I will get paired up to those needing company, or perhaps help with fundraising, or occasional respite support for carers. I’ll know more when I get started, but I can’t wait to get involved.
DROPS IN THE OCEAN
So I’ll round this off by saying, do the things you believe are important, stick to your beliefs (even when you feel like it won’t make a difference) and be present.
“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” ~ Seneca