In this episode we play a recording of a talk by Sally Sawaya of Meru Herbs in Kenya that she gave recently to the staff of True Origin and Rainbow Turtle in Paisley, Scotland. Sally is the managing director of Meru Herbs, the Kenyan fair trade company that produces tasty sauces, jams and herbal teas. Meru is a semi arid region of the country where, for many years, water was hard to obtain for farming and domestic use. Things changed just over 30 years ago with a collaboration between the Meru catholic diocese, the Italian government, and the local people which implemented a project to provide water to about 430 families. This change in conditions sparked off the creation of Meru Herbs that went on to improve the lives of many people and empowered women to both work in and run the company.
Sally’s story is one of many of the inspiring ones that have come out of Meru Herbs, where a change in circumstance, combined with fair trade, has transformed their lives. Sally left university with a degree in marketing and started out as an intern with Meru Herbs. Other women have been able to buy land and grow their own food. In rural areas it was often the boys who were sent to school, not the girls, because there wasn’t the money to pay for both. The conventional wisdom was that the family got a better return by educating the boys.