there have been many born moments for bahati. i could fill a book with them. but one moment in particular helped to crystalize our vision and our mission.
traveling a long dusty road in rural malawi whilst working on an HIV & nutrition program several years ago i passed a woman standing by the side of the road holding a basket of termites. i asked my malawian colleague how much she would sell them for that day.
“if she is lucky she will sell that entire basket for maybe USD $2.50...”
i imagined her waking up in the morning to harvest them at maybe 4 or 5AM, earlier? she then likely had to gather water, feed her children and then start the journey towards the road that we traveled on to find an opportunity to sell them ALL, if she was lucky. she would then begin the trek back home and start it all over again. some days she sold ALL the termites, other days, maybe none...
what if she had a bike? access to a larger market? other skills or products to add value to her daily trek? every country i've worked in i've seen similar women and asked myself the same questions. yet, this one still burns bright in my memory. what's the answer? livelihoods. jobs. skills/training. access = opportunity
i became even more convinced than before that livelihoods (jobs) can change the world. not education, not health (NOT that these aren't extremely important! but they are not themselves panaceas).
“if you can help to clear away the obstacles, even just one or two, you will find that opportunity will bubble up in abundance...”
i've seen it, and many of you have as well. working- the universal desire in every corner of every country- helps put children through school, helps feed families, reduces poverty, strengthens local economies, promotes peace, provides healthcare, and instills hope.
bahati means 'luck' or 'fortune' in swahili and was always going to be our name since i first learned the word. it's our wishbone. it spoke to me- i hope it speaks to you too. i started bahati is an ethical fashion and travel company born out of over 15 years living, traveling and working in over 20 countries throughout africa. through fashion, art, awareness and travel we hope to clear some of the obstacles, provide opportunities, and tap into the beauty, inspiration and joy we find all around us.
we hope you follow us on this journey and inspire us to always do better.