Our Journey to Make the World Better

My best friends Angela and Lindsay and I were on a cross-country road trip following college graduation when someone said, “If we start a business together, we could hang out all the time, set our own hours and travel as much as we want!” In the beginning we had no idea what we were going to do, or how we were going to do it, and there was no mission or purpose to motivate us, but our long journey had begun.

As our friendship has matured over the last 15 years, our business conversations followed suit. One overarching theme that remained constant was that we wanted to create an inspired business – one that was in line with our passions and vision for the future of the world. We wanted to create a business that would change the world.

Though our morals and values are closely aligned, our passions and true inspiration vary. Angela is passionate about giving women a voice and the opportunity to make decisions for themselves. Lindsay, a registered nurse, is passionate about global health issues and creating a world where everyone has access to healthcare and medicine that many of us take for granted. I am passionate about easing suffering and, specifically, easing the suffering of children.

One particular inspirational moment occurred immediately following the Haiti earthquake of 2010. I will never forget the image of a mother looking down at her dying baby and screaming for someone – anyone – to help her. I sobbed uncontrollably, and a feeling of complete and utter helplessness came over me.

I remember thinking that I didn’t have the right to feel these overwhelming and paralyzing feelings unless I was going to do something about it – something beyond writing a check. I knew that I had to do something to help mothers in this situation – mothers who would give anything to save their children whether it is saving them from starvation, disease, sex trafficking, lack of education – the list goes on and on.

So, the question was, what could we do that empowered women, improved global healthcare and significantly improved the lives of children around the world? Threads Worldwide was our answer.

Threads connects women in developing countries who make beautiful handmade jewelry and accessories with women in the US who want to make money while making a difference. We work with women in Cambodia who have been rescued from sex trafficking, women in Ethiopia who are HIV positive, deaf women in Kenya, and women in nine other countries who are struggling to make ends meet because of hardship or injustice.

Threads sales consultants across the country sell our artisans’ creations through home parties, fundraisers, and their own personalized websites. Our consultants are inspired women committed to creating opportunity for our artisans knowing that investing in women is the most efficient way to eradicate poverty, build thriving communities, and guarantee a healthier world.

I have learned so much since starting Threads, but the most powerful lesson is illustrated beautifully in a quote that hangs on my bulletin board: “A journey of one thousand miles starts with a single step” (Chinese Philosopher, Lao Tzu). Threads is on a journey to be a leader in the fight to end poverty, attain gender equality, and achieve global freedom. This quote has helped me on countless occasions when I started doubting my own abilities to contribute to this purpose in a meaningful way.

My step today is writing this blog in the hope that sharing my own story will inspire you to push yourself to take a risk that helps someone else. So, I will leave you with this: Today is a new day and a chance for you to start on your own journey to make the world a better place.  What’s your step?


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About the Author | Kara Wiegand

Kara Wiegand is a founder of Threads Worldwide, a social enterprise that provides life-changing work to women around the world through the fair trade of artisan jewelry. Kara also serves as the Director of Strategic Partnership of Emerging Women, an organization that exists to support and inspire women to express themselves authentically through the work that they do. She has over 12 years experience in the non-profit sector with a focus on business development, sponsorship, accounting and finance. She holds a B.A. from Tufts University, and a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver. She is a proud wife and mother of two beautiful young girls who inspire her daily to be courageous and honor her passions.

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