Karin Kish is a stay-at-home mother of two living in the suburbs of south Charlotte with her husband Jeff, who works for Belk.
She knows of the poverty around the world and gratefully recognizes her circumstances as privileged.
Kish sees her circumstances as an opportunity to help expand the human rights of women and children around the world.
Kish has recently taken a step towards that goal and created a social enterprise business, Growing Love Project. A social enterprise business uses commercial strategies to make improvements in society, rather than maximizing profits for owners or shareholders.
She has a larger vision for their corporation, but for starters, she is focusing on maternal health.
When Kish, 31, was pregnant with her second child, Suzanne, in March of 2012, she had the social enterprise idea slowly forming in her mind. Then she read a book and saw the documentary titled, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide.
The shock of conditions around the world for women and children moved her to action.
Some people arent doing more because, like me, they dont fully know the level of brutality and oppression around the world, Kish said.
According to the AmnestyUSA.org website, one woman dies every 90 seconds from pregnancy or childbirth complications.
Maternal mortality is the worst in Africa, Central and South America, and Asia, Kish said. But the most dangerous place to get pregnant is Africa. For many, there is no access to medical care. Female genital mutilation often causes obstructive labor. Some women cant even have a Caesarian performed without a husbands approval.
The Growing Love Maternitee project is first on her list. She will partner with a local business to make maternity shirts. She wants all products to be socially and economically sustainable materials produced by local businesses that are Fair Trade certified.
We want to create practical products that are useful and add more love, not more waste and toxins, said Kish.
The shirt may have the logo of a maternal health-focused nonprofit organization on the belly. Two dollars of the profits from each maternity shirt will go to that organization. Ultimately, the shirt will generate awareness of human rights problems. Just creating awareness is another goal.
She is still collaborating with her partners in the Growing Love Maternitee project, so she anticipates it will be three to four months before the shirts are available in retail stores and on the website.
Her vision is big, but with two young children, time is limited. Michelle Hahn, an au pair from Germany, just recently arrived. She will take college classes and live with the family for one year, while Kish works hard to start up her company.
Kish credits family and friends who have helped her along the way. Her friend, Mariam Phillips, has created the new website.
In addition, Mariam has received web development guidance from Pat Whyde at Karpata Group.
Kishs sister, Kierstin Egge, is an artist who created the logo for Growing Love Project. Kishs father, Trygve Egge, is an attorney, and his regular advice has been helpful.
Kish still needs someone who can give her professional advice about marketing and social media. For the Growing Love Maternitee project, she also needs models to showcase the shirts, and a skilled, local pattern maker to help her develop the patterns and make samples.. If you are interested in helping, contact her through the website.
Emily Mathias is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Emily? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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