When she was 18, Joy McBrien, a student at Math and Science Academy, turned a time of extreme trauma into an opportunity to help women around the world who had survived similar trauma to hers. Joy’s first instinct was to learn more about the life of women around the world who had survived sexual violence, how someone with a less privileged life was able to keep moving forward and thrive.
In her research she found that Peru had the largest volume of reported sexual violence and abuse in the world and that led her to reach out to a local nonprofit in Peru to help improve the lives of the women there. She worked with them to form a shelter for battered women, and it was there that she met a social worker named Anita.
Anita was the lone social worker for an entire city, serving hundreds of women who were survivors of abuse and sexual violence. Joy was able to learn more about many of the women while they waited to see Anita. What she found was although there were many cultural differences in the abuse culture, there was common theme: financial insecurity. Many women stayed in dangerous situations simply because they did not have the means to strike out on their own. These women said the shelter and social workers were helpful but what they really needed were jobs to gain their freedom.
From this, Fair Anita formed, with the mission to provide fair trade jobs to women around the world, helping to provide these women with financial security and freedom. The focus was not about seeking out victims of abuse; that can be difficult to manage, especially when many are scared to come forward. Instead, Fair Anita focuses on providing jobs to women in marginalized communities around the world where sexual violence is much more prevalent.
Today, Fair Anita has partnered with co-ops in 16 different countries that employ 8,000 women, handcrafting trendy, affordable fashion accessories that are imported and sold in stores and pop-up shops across the US. Joy insists that Fair Anita isn’t saving these women; they are doing that themselves. Fair Anita provides tools and invests in their future to give them the safe and free life they deserve.
If you are interested in learning more or buying their products, visit Fair Anita here: fairanita.com