Life has taken much from RO. She is not yet 25 and has already experienced more loss and abuse than most of us do in a lifetime. And yet, she shows up to work every day with one of the most sincere smiles and truest laughter I’ve ever witnessed. This morning in our daily gratitude check-in, in her broken English she said, “Thank you God for a new opportunity of life!” How amazing is that? Despite all the loss, all the pain, all the disillusioning disappointments, RO believes that with each day God gives her new opportunity. She’s a living example of empowerment. For her it is not about fame or money or social standing or even a happy past… it’s about today! It’s about looking at the blank slate of “now” and simply saying, “Thank you, God.”
In addition to this humble gratitude, RO has diligently taken a substantial portion of each paycheck to send money to her family. They live in a roofless dwelling in South America. But, with her BRANDED paycheck RO put a roof over her family’s head. And after that, she built them their very first bathroom. I don’t know about you, but I do not think she could have done this if she’d waited on life to show up for her.
Life told this woman a thousand times that she could not do much and was not worth much. Life has given her a thousand reasons to say, “I give up.” Yet, each day she chooses to refute these lies. Step by daily step, she moves forward. She whispers “little by little” while she works. And, “I can. I can. I can.” She shows us what empowerment really is. It is not flashy, it does not always lead to big money or big fame or big headlines. It’s really quite simple:
Make one piece of jewelry, then another, then another. And one day, you’ve made enough that you can put a roof over your family’s head and a bathroom in their house.
What’s really cool about this story? RO did this all by herself. She made the money and she chose to send it. This is what I love most about the work being done here at BRANDED and End Slavery Tennessee. The items you purchased allowed this young women to help herself. And from there, she chose to help her family. The smile on her face when she shared with us what she was able to do with her pay check… well, that was worth all the accolades and money in the world!
Thank you, BRANDED family, for helping us create a workspace where young women like RO can choose empowerment. Thank you for supporting our mission. Thank you for believing that each day is a new opportunity of life!
In case you like pictures, here are some photos RO’s very proud mama sent back from the construction site…