Name: Shanan Bunzendahl
Lives In: Taylor, Michigan
Current Job: Co-Founder, Buy The Change
The dream I am most focused on at the moment is for all the women, in all of the world, to be able to live a peaceful and empowered life. There are many women in the world who live in cultures that do not value the life of a woman as equal to the life of a man, and I believe that there are certain rights every human is entitled to regardless of cultural norms, such as the rights to dignity and non-violence.
What are you doing to attain your dream?
My friend Kari Hughes and I started a company, Buy The Change, which provides economic empowerment to women in the developing world. We are a Fair Trade business, and we buy handmade products from women artisans in Cambodia, Guatemala, India, Thailand, Afghanistan, Uganda (to name a few). With every purchase, we are able to support a woman’s work and provide her a fair and living wage. She in turn is able to feed, clothe, and send her daughters to school.
What do you think you ultimately need to attain your dreams?
Higher public awareness on the importance of Fair Trade purchases would be a great help. If we are able to help people make the connection between their every day purchases and what that might mean for the quality of life for another person, another family, another generation, we will bring real and lasting change into the world. And, the more customers we get, the more we are able to help support these women; so speaking in terms of our business, a larger customer base is crucial to the success of our mission.
Have you attained any dreams? If so, what were they and what did you do to attain them?
We celebrate every little success along the way. We’ve grown our business to the point of being able to buy consistent, large quantities of fairly traded, women-made, hand-crafted goods from women artisan groups. We have become a reliable customer and provide a steady source of income to the women artisans we work with, which makes a huge difference for these women.
What’s your advice to other dreamers?
Take action! Every single, tiny step towards your dream is progress. If you don’t know where to start, just start small. Our mantra is to just do what you can, with what you have, from right where you are today. It will grow as long as you keep taking steps forward when you can.
Thank you so much Shanan! I’m so happy that Kari commented on my Half of the Sky Review. I’m please to help spread the word about Buy the Change, especially after reading Half the Sky. I hope you Dreamers will help with their mission and partake in buying fair trade items from their website. Tell us what your favorite item is and show us what you buy! Keep spreading their dream!