Living In Prosperity
Theresa explained that the formula is sustainable without her organization. While the money to begin the business may come from Ten by Three, the money sustaining the businesses comes from the community and stays within the community.
A shining example of the program’s success is a Bangladeshi woman named Majada Katoon. When Ten by Three first approached Majada, she earned the US equivalent of $1 for her baskets and lived in a natural fiber house crafted of banana leaves with a batch roof. The home was so small that the five-foot-tall woman couldn’t fully extend her feet.
Ten by Three enrolled her in the program and paid her $12.60 for the same basket she had produced. She was ready to graduate after three short years of working in the program.
Theresa recounted a tender moment after Majada’s graduation when Theresa was taken out to Majada’s land. Proudly, Majada showed Theresa her businesses, including her rice field. Showing Theresa her achievement, Majada said, “This is my field, and I’ve got my rice, and I’m fine.”
When Theresa asked Majada how the accomplishment felt, Majada had no words. Instead, she proudly spread out her arms in joy, safety, and contentment. Today, Majada lives in prosperity as an employer under the roof of her brick home.
This story is one of many that fuel Ten by Three’s work. Every day is driven by what is in the best interest of the artisans and their communities.
“That makes really hard decisions a lot easier because sometimes the business and the social mission are at odds with one another,” said Theresa.
Theresa explained a current situation where they are expending more money than their products are selling for out of Togo. While a solely business-minded person would make the call to exit Togo, Theresa and her team act differently. They are steadfast in their commitments by doubling down on training and strategizing steps to care for the community.
“We’re not going to abandon them. Anybody can abandon them. That’s what they’ve lived for centuries experiencing, people who look like me, making a big promise that they never live up to,” said Theresa. “As leaders, it’s important that our Yes is Yes, our No is No.”
The United States has a plethora of private and public social programs and networks to support the poor. However, in these rural, developing regions, there is no safety net to catch them. As a result, social needs in these communities are not being met. Ten by Three’s commitment to the overall community well-being is seen through their assistance in building schools and hospitals and improving roads.
How You Can Help
The most significant impact an individual can have on Ten by Three is to buy a basket. The more baskets sold directly equates to the number of humans helped.
Theresa shared that when someone gives a housewarming gift in a Ten by Three basket, it shows the homeowners that they are a part of a bigger picture. Their gift is providing housing on a global scale.
“It’s one of the biggest things someone can do to grow the organization, and it could help someone else grow their business by providing a memorable and thoughtful gift,” said Theresa. “People are going to be more likely to come back and do business with them because they’re going to remember that housewarming gift.”
Baskets sales do not support Ten by Three’s annual budget alone. As the organization still raises 90% of its funding, donations are always appreciated.
Baskets can be found nationwide at Whole Foods, online at TenbyThree.com, and an exclusive product range with Room & Board can be found in-store and online at roomandboard.com. Visit the Ten by Three website for a complete list of stores.
A Ten by Three basket connects you to an artisan, a story, a community, and a bigger mission to end global poverty.