At Venture With Impact our mission is to expose professionals to new cultures, people and ideas so that they may be more informed and empathetic world citizens, and in the process, provide a positive social impact.
In reflection of this mission we’d like to share a bit about the wonderful volunteer work of some of our participants. Today we're highlighting the work of our past Trujillo, Peru program volunteer Shannon Sanzone and looking at the positive social impacts she's helped to generate on both local and global levels.
SHANNON SANZONE'S WORK WITH VIVE PERU IN ALTO SALAVERRY
A true New Yorker at heart, Shannon Sanzone has spent her life in the world of art and fashion. Having majored in fashion design, she has worked with major designers including Calvin Klein since the age of 19. Shannon utilized her experience within the fashion industry to work with the women of a remote town called Alto Salaverry, through one of our partner organizations Vive Peru. Before arriving in Peru, Shannon had planned out 3 potential design projects for the women and brought supplies for all. Upon meeting the women they decided that her idea of hand embroidered leather bracelets was the project for them to explore. The project involved Shannon and the women brainstorming ways bring their designs to fruition, hands-on training and business education.
The project has so far resulted in the creation of many beautiful bracelets and the start of a business that has the potential to continue and expand in the future, with bracelet sales already taking place and the potential to partner with local leather factories that could donate scraps of leather that, rather than going to waste, could be used to create more bracelets. The prospect of developing a sustainable business is an exciting one and, again, comes to show how the importance of connections and networks cannot be underemphasized.
On a personal and local roots level, the impact of this project was felt by not only the Peruvian woman but by Shannon herself. The experience was highly insightful for Shannon who describes that, “These woman are extremely perceptive and extremely brilliant for having no formal education. They just needed someone to show them a way and give them a chance”. Being able to share her artistic skills to help empower these marginalized women is something that Shannon has always wanted to do. She told the collective of women, “Don’t ever feel like you can’t do something, you CAN”. Looking at these beautiful bracelets we couldn't agree more!
Moving toward the future, Shannon plans to network with companies that could help distribute the products globally and help oversee production and work alongside Vive Peru to support the program and the budding business. Her efforts have helped start a path for these women to become more financially stable, explore their creative and professional skills and empower their independence within their communities.
On a global scale, the effect of helping train and support women as independent artisans and small business owners has many positive impacts. For one, these efforts help advance the artisan industry and make considerable contributions to the global economy. I don't know about you, but the world of fair-trade, sustainable, artisan-made products seems to be rightfully growing and we couldn't be happier. By empowering these women's skilled work and connecting them to the rest of the globe, it creates economic opportunity and influences future generations to share their craft with the world.
As you can see, the resources and training Shannon donated towards helping the Alto Salaverry community has generated great positive impact both near and far. Her work has laid the foundation to help these artisans create a sustainable and profitable livelihood, she's a true life example of what skill-based volunteering is all about!