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When brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger were in middle school, international travel experiences changed their lives and sparked the beginnings of the social enterprise ME to WE. What is now ME to WE Trips began when Craig and Marc took the first young travelers to build WE Charity’s first schools in India, Nicaragua and Kenya. Craig and Marc started these international volunteer trips because they couldn’t find a provider that would take youth under 18.
As WE Charity grew internationally, Craig and Marc Kielburger struggled to find a sustainable funding source. This problem came into sharp focus in 2006, while they were in Freetown Port, Sierra Leone, waiting for a shipment of medical supplies to support WE Charity development projects in that country. Waiting on the docks, the brothers watched other international charities, depleted of funds, prepare to ship out. One dejected aid worker explained why everyone was leaving: “When is the last time you saw a celebrity telethon for Sierra Leone?”
At the heart of ME to WE is our commitment to social entrepreneurship. WEconomy, a new book co-authored by Craig Kielburger, Holly Branson and Marc Kielburger, is an extraordinary guide to today’s new business world, helping others find meaning, make a living and change the world.
ME to WE Artisans is a line of original accessories handcrafted by artisans in WE Charity’s partner communities across the globe. It started with a vision: to not only create a way for talented artisans to earn the income they deserve, but to foster a collective of women empowering one another globally. To date, ME to WE Artisans partners with more than 1,800 women in Kenya and Ecuador, empowering each woman to build a brighter future for herself, her family and her community.
Founder and ME to WE CEO Roxanne Joyal was inspired to create ME to WE Artisans after meeting talented Maasai beaders forced to travel daily to small tourist markets flooded with similar products. There, they would sometimes sell their intricate beadwork at a loss.