September 5th is the International Day of Charity. It sometimes seems like there’s a day for everything – how would you celebrate, for example, Handwriting Day or Something on a Stick Day? But a day of charity – we can definitely get on board with that. In fact, it made us think again about the CSR work that we undertake as an organisation.
One of our CSR programmes is called Gift of Discovery. It works like this: one of our accredited Insights Discovery practitioners identifies a non-profit organisation they want to work with, and we provide the materials they’ll need for a workshop with the leaders of that NPO: simple.
Back in 2013, we donated materials to an Insights Discovery workshop for the leaders of Peace Through Commerce, a non-profit organisation which uses the power of commerce to bring about positive social change. They were bringing Israeli and Palestinian women together in Nes Ammim, in Northern Israel, looking for projects that the women, who were from communities on either side of a bitter divide, could collaborate on.
When a Palestinian woman from the West Bank named Fatina said that she made soap but needed a mixer to do so on a bigger scale, the room erupted when an Israeli Palestinian woman in the room offered her the mixer she needed. This is the power of what Peace Through Commerce does – they found a way to bring together women from different communities, for the good of both the women and their wider communities. Watch the video to see what this meant to Joyce Beck, of Peace Through Commerce.
So we thought, five years later, it was time to find out how that project went. And the short answer is – it didn’t. For some very human reasons, the mixer never found its way to Fatina, and she spent the next few years trying to find a way to take her business forward. So, what happened next in Fatina’s story? Well, in 2017, she reconnected with Peace Through Commerce when she was awarded a place in their Fellowship Program, and at last, Fatina has her mixer. Fatina’s business can begin to grow, and commerce can become a source of positive social change in Hebron, where she lives and works.
But this story is actually bigger than that – Fatina’s business is more than just a source of income for her family. Through her work, she has become an elder in her community, dispensing wisdom, hospitality, and support to other woman who also want to instil positive social change in their own ways. The support Fatina received from Peace Through Commerce has begun to translate into social change for the Palestinian community in Hebron, because Fatina’s improved circumstances allow her to extend support to those around her.
We should all celebrate International Day of Charity, because charities are such a powerful way to express everything that’s good in our humanity. Charities all over the world are instigating positive change, driven by people with vision and implemented by those with courage, humanity and heart. Go show your appreciation by finding a way to contribute that works for you.