For those of you that are joining us on the 700 Rivers journey and for those who have been here from the beginning, I want to say thank you so much for your support. I am excited to say that I have a big announcement to share with you but first I want to take a moment to reintroduce myself and remind you why 700 Rivers began.
Our mission at 700 Rivers is to empower our artisans through fair work and living wages, and to protect our planet through sustainable products and design. Right now, we are primarily focusing on working with artisans in Bangladesh, but in the future, will be a truly global brand working with artisans all over the world.
The origin behind 700 Rivers really starts with me. My parents immigrated to the United States from Bangladesh, a land of incredible poverty. My family came to America with high hopes and determination to provide my sisters and I with ample opportunities and a better life than we ever could have imagined in Bangladesh. Through my childhood days when we would travel back to Bangladesh to see family, I have witnessed first hand how impoverished the country truly is. I remember when we used to visit my grandparents who still lived in Dhaka, the capital city, how we used to see beggars in the streets pleading for food or money to feed themselves and their children. There is little opportunity to grow, let alone thrive, especially for women. Women in Bangladesh are not considered equal and therefore, not granted equal opportunities for education and work.
I recognize that there is not any difference between myself and these women in Bangladesh other than the fact that my parents had the means to travel to a land of opportunity. Because my parents immigrated to America, I have had access to higher education, a great career, and more importantly, the opportunity to make my own decisions about my life and what I want my future to be. This right is not one usually granted to most Bangladeshi women. I truly am one of the lucky ones.
I want to give opportunity back to the women in my home country that do not have the same fortunate means to uproot themselves and move to a better place. It is hard to improve your life or start over when you are stuck in a cycle of poverty and focused on surviving. So I set out to create an opportunity.