Let me introduce you to Rocío (pronounced ro-SEE-oh), a 22-year-old woman, the daughter of Marla, one of the women who helped us start Wakami 13 years ago.
Just last week, as we opened the doors of the first Wakami Embassy in Antigua Guatemala, in front of our friends and their families as well as our team and their families, Rocío gave the opening speech on this magical day – in English (not Spanish, the national language). She shared how she was the first of her family to ever graduate from high school, and how she has gone on to graduate from college as well.
Think about this – Rocío was 8 years old when her mother became part of Wakami. At the time, 13 years ago, Rocío didn’t have much to look forward to. Like her mother before her, she would likely not be sent to school past the sixth grade – because, in her village, sending girls to school was not considered important. “After all, they will marry soon and their only job is to have kids.”
Rocío gave credit to her mother, Marla, for choosing to create a new story – new opportunities – for her and her sisters. Through her partnership with Wakami, Marla was able to send Rocío and her two sisters to school. Rocío was grateful that her mom had decided, so many years ago, that no matter what, her daughters were not going to repeat her same story.
For Marla, giving her daughters an education became motivation. One bracelet at a time, Marla earned her own money and created her own power to decide for herself – and to pay for the schooling she wanted for her children.
Now, 13 years later, Rocío has graduated from college. One sister is in high school, and the other in junior high school. Rocío shared how their father stands proud now, too.
As Rocío spoke, you could see Marla’s eyes starting to water– her look and obvious pride were beautiful to see.
Later that day, Marla told everyone – “I did not understand what my daughter said today, but I know it’s bracelet by bracelet how that happened.” She said how people that bought the Wakami bracelets were now part of this story of change.
At this point, my eyes were watery too…
Some of the Wakami business leaders from nearby villages were there. They are the founding Wakami groups, those who started with us 13 years ago. Back then, we shared the dream of one day being a brand whose products would transcend our borders, generating sources of income for many women in Guatemala. These were the women who jumped right in.
So, thank you. So grateful to all of you who have been part of this… this miracle in a small home in a rural village of Guatemala. In this place, moms are determined and girls are changing history, helped by people who love their products! And to think these kinds of miracles are happening in many different homes, in many different villages… we are humbled.