This is a goal we strive for – we want to foster independence. We ask this question of ourselves before we launch any new program or make a decision in our programs – does this create dependency or foster independence? We do this because we believe these women are creative, brilliant, hold a unique perspective and are capable of deciding what their own futures look like and the roadmap to get there.
This month, we heard from our program partners in El Salvador about Jasmine. For those of you who have been a part of the FTG family for a while, you may remember several years ago hearing about Jasmine, a woman in our program who was diagnosed with cancer. This resourceful woman did not let it stop her and even sold bras in the hospital hallways while waiting for her treatments. Some of you may even have donated to help with her recovery process. We are sad to announce that the cancer has returned and that it is terminal.
Jasmine has been spending the last few months with her two children, going on beach outings with Danielle (our Program Partner) and Evelyn (our Program Manager), making sure her affairs are in order, etc. But she’s wanted to continue making money to help her sister who will have custody of her children after Jasmine passes away. Because of her condition and the pain she is in, it has been impractical for her to sell at the local market as she is used to doing. So being the incredibly creative woman that she is, she decided to take her business in a new direction.
Online. That’s right. Jasmine is now selling her bras through a private Facebook page and is doing extremely well in profits! She has been selling what she calls “American bras” to boutiques and companies 2 or 3 hours away on the opposite side of the country! She’s included the price of delivery services into her cost, and she gets to spend the days with her children packing up bundles of bras and calling the courier services to transport her inventory to these companies all over El Salvador. And her rating? 5 stars!
The profits are paying for all of Jasmine's medical expenses, her rent, food for the family, and some extra to tuck away! She’s even thinking about expanding to make her online presence more robust!
When the staff at Mission to El Salvador and Free The Girls heard about this new business model, we were stunned and all thought it was one of our favorite stories ever!
Jasmine did not consult anyone before doing this – because it’s her own business, and she is doing what is best for it. This woman has taken her future – even a tragically shortened one – and decided that she was going to call the shots. She is not letting cancer take away from caring for her children. She is not letting her past sexual trauma dictate how she leaves this world. What an honor to be a part of Jasmine's journey. What a privilege to see a woman walking in independence and true freedom.
Jasmine, we applaud and love you.