You know those ‘Aha moments’ in your life, the ones when you say to yourself, “This feels so right!”? I remember mine. I was leaving one of my first yoga classes and said to myself, “I want to do this every day for the rest of my life.” I packed my bags, left one of the best universities in Canada, and headed for an ashram outside Montreal. That was more than 12 years ago and yoga is still transforming my life.
It’s been one huge adventure after another. Moving to Dublin in 2002 and teaching yoga at the Harvest Moon Centre was a gift. I’m Canadian yes, but Dublin has been my second home for more than 10 years. I returned to Canada in 2006 to complete an MBA in Community Economic Development. With my mixed bag of life tricks, travels and passion, I started finding my way. Jack-of-all-trades master of none? Nope, I’m a true lover of life!
In 2010, after a very challenging job, my favourite professor offered me the opportunity to do research in Zambia in a peri-urban community, better known as ”squat’. This was ‘Aha moment’ number two. I met a bright, hard working young Zambian man who seemed to be the central figure in a local IT business. As I got to know him over the next while, I discovered that his dream was to complete university but that this was almost impossible. He was underpaid and overworked. His dedication and humility totally inspired me and I made the decision, with the support of my family and friends, to help Martin achieve his dream.
Weeks and months after returning from Zambia, the vision for ‘1World2Love’ started taking shape. In the beginning it was called ‘Right2Knowledge’; which is now the sister organisation and focuses only on education. With the help of Susan, a young Zambian teacher working closely with youth at risk, we are slowly funding children so they can complete their education.
But the vision was bigger. I wanted to create an organisation that gave people the ability to complete an education or start a small business, to inspire creativity and to support communities. I wanted to give people the opportunity to change their world.
And so, the ‘Aha moments’ didn’t stop. Once I found my direction, things really started taking shape and ‘Indigenous Beauty’ was born; the second sister organisation to ‘1World2Love’.
Wandering through the markets of Kitwe during monsoon season was magical. The air was electric. The vibes in the air matched the wild Zambian and Congolese fabrics that these women wore and sold, and their designs, Wow! I bought metres of this amazing fabric with the perfect frocks in mind. My designs were giggled at by the local seamstresses, but the results were stunning and so ‘Indigenous Beauty’ born! This organisation focuses on bringing culture back through textile and fabric, mixed with traditional and hip designs of dresses and accessories. I realised again what I was doing, creating jobs and purpose. The aim is fair wages, community businesses and stunning designs.
I started creating a dream business in my mind, and soon my lovely family, and amazing friends in Dublin were helping; promoting the idea, giving donations, and creating whole websites and logos. Their support and guidance has been overwhelming. When you start doing the right thing everything slowly unfolds.
This is an organisation that gives people creative expression, fairness and direction, enriching the lives of everyone involved. I envision it spreading throughout the world.
I hope you feel inspired to go after your own dreams. Realise, that it is in the giving that you truly receive.
To learn more about 1World2Love, get involved and find out about events and fundraising, visit 1world2love.org