At first glance it is just another cute tote bag. Strong, boxy, decorated with colored edging and playful graphics. But a glance could not begin to tell the story hiding inside each satchel. Founded in 2007, by glamorous top-model, Giselle Meza, the narrative of Puresa Organics began in humble circumstances, touching lives that are anything but fashionable–women and girls locked into forced prostitution.
Her voice softly eloquent, Giselle spoke of her company’s origins; “Each time I traveled internationally for a photo shoot, I encountered the exploitation of women. Each story, each life moved me to compassion. Yet how to move from compassion to action?”
Giselle chose to devote herself to working with overseas humanitarian projects well seeking an answer to her quest of how to bring long-term change to victimized women caught in the cycle of sexual bondage and modern day slavery. Through the example of Project Rescue Nepal, whom she partnered with, Giselle caught hold of a social-enterprise vision. It is one thing to help a young woman make steps toward a life away from forced prostitution but it is quite another to sustain that life when jobs are not easily at hand. “When I got back to my home in Florida,” Giselle continued, “I knew that jobs with fair wages, in safe working conditions needed to be created. The next challenge was figuring out what type of company could be started, and what form of jobs could I create to empower and cultivate self-sustainability for these rescued women.” Holding up a fashionable cotton tote bag that she had just designed in Nepal, Giselle smiled her super-model smile, “It all came down to organic bags!”
With an idea in place, Giselle focused in on the women and girls of Nepal who needed her help the most. Sadly, Nepal is an impoverished country that has a huge need for job cultivation for rescued victims of human trafficking. Giselle notes, “Each year more than 15 thousand Nepali girls are kidnapped or sold, and taken across the border into India to be forced into a life of prostitution.” With human trafficking of women and children on the rise worldwide, the issue of trafficking for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation is tragically exploding into a Global Epidemic and will continue to be a pressing urgency and concern in the years to come.
The development of Puresa Organics brings a positive solution to a hugely challenging problem. A job in Nepal for a former forced sex-worker is not “just a job.” Regular income produced in safe working conditions allows each woman the ability to be proud of her endeavors, care for her basic needs such as housing, food, clothing, medical care (many are HIV positive), and have hope for her future. Giselle points out, “From slavery to freedom, that is the difference a fair trade job can make.”
The mission of Puresa Organics not only fulfills Giselle’s dream of creating self-sustainable jobs for rescued women, it allows her to tap into her fashion sense and focus on earth-friendly materials. Each tote is handcrafted with various size offerings. The company’s aim of sustainable change is echoed with the use of organic cotton and jute. Puresa Organics has a beautiful collection of globally inspired bag designs, and custom totes can be created for corporate or special events.
As a fair trade company, Puresa Organics, is a member of the Fair Trade Federation. “Operating under fair trade principles fits into my company’s long-term goal of empowering women,” Giselle reasoned. To help broadcast that goal, Puresa Organics is the official bag for the Fair Trade the White House campaign, of which CocoEco Magazine is a media sponsor. Giselle pointed out, “We are inviting the First Lady to make the White House a ‘Fair Trade Home.’ If Mrs. Obama chooses to use her home as an example of socially-conscious purchasing, we hope to give her our bag filled with fair trade goodies.”
With each stitch in the bag comes one more move away from a life of past sexual slavery and bondage to a life full of hope, and freedom. A Puresa Organics bag is not just a cute tote bag. Buying a bag really can change a life.
Visit the site.
Fair Trade the White House is a coalition of fair trade vendors and organizations that are inviting the First Lady to join the fair trade movement and make the White House a “Fair Trade Home.” The purpose of the outreach is to raise greater awareness of fair trade to the American consumer so each person will choose to “Join the Fair Party,” and integrate more fair trade purchases into their regular buying habits so that poverty is reduced in America and around the world.
Sign the invitation to the First Lady here.