Take a moment to imagine 30 years from now. You’re sharing with your children and grandchildren that you were part of the generation who eradicated extreme global poverty. And you also get to share how you personally contributed to that endeavor, passing along the message that small actions in the right direction truly make a difference.
This potential reality doesn’t need to live just in your imagination. You actually could be part of this significant feat, one that has eluded all generations who have come before us.
While extreme poverty has felt like a fixed reality for centuries, change is on the horizon. Between 1990 and 2012, the number of people living in extreme poverty was reduced by almost two-thirds, dropping from 37% to about 13% in only 22 years. The World Bank and global economists project that over the next 10-15 years, it’s possible to cut it by half again.
From the day cabi began, we’ve had a mission to encourage and empower women in need, and so, in 2005, we formed The Heart of cabi Foundation with great intentionality to make a difference for women living in poverty around the world. Through our partnership with Opportunity International, we created our W.E. are cabi Program (which stands for “Women Entrepreneurs are cabi”), a one-for-one program through which we provide a small business loan for a woman in the developing world for every new cabi Stylist who begins her business, thereby making them Sister Entrepreneurs. As cabi Stylists build their businesses, they are simultaneously giving women in the developing world the resources to also build businesses they’re proud of, and in turn, women everywhere are impacting their families and communities. Just as cabi Stylists collaborate to be more successful, our Sister Entrepreneurs join together in Trust Groups for training and strengthen one another’s businesses by working together. “The work of Opportunity International is grounded in the same philosophy we have at cabi—when business is done in close relationship, the results are so much greater than when we work alone,” said cabi CEO Lynne Coté.
A powerful, staggering reality is that when women are given an economic opportunity, for every dollar earned, they invest 80 cents back into their families, whereas men, in general, invest 30 cents. Additionally, as women gain success, they employ members of their communities and send their children to school. And as they repay their loans, their loan turns into an average of 5 more loans over time!
To date, The Heart of cabi Foundation has funded 16,605 small business loans around the world. “We invest in women entrepreneurs because we know when a woman is given the opportunity to better her life, her gut instinct is to also see those around her thrive,” said cabi Founder, President, and Chief Culture Officer Kimberly Inskeep. “As a company of women, we think it’s pretty darn cool to be part of the larger sisterhood helping to eliminate extreme poverty. We really believe we can do it!”
Atul Tandon, CEO of Opportunity International, states, “The best way to eradicate poverty is jobs. And thanks to programs like W.E. are cabi and Make a Change, Opportunity International drove the creation of 17.3 million jobs across 22 developing nations by the end of 2016, and we’re on our way to achieving our goal of 20 million jobs by 2020. Our vision is a world without extreme poverty by 2030. Cabi and its Stylists have become a formidable force in helping us achieve that big, hairy, audacious goal.”
In 2016 and 2018, groups of Stylists journeyed to Rwanda to spend time with some of our Sister Entrepreneurs. “Going to Rwanda changed everything for me. I saw how what we’re doing doesn’t just impact individuals—as more women work together, they are changing whole nations and economies,” cabi Stylist Carolyn Drummond said. “And it doesn’t take much to make a real difference—there are such easy ways to contribute through cabi.”
Join us in taking action against extreme global poverty in these three ways: begin a career as a cabi Stylist and be paired with a Sister Entrepreneur, round up your cabi purchase through our Make a Change Program (all proceeds help fund small business loans), or purchase the Hothouse Blouse supporting The Heart of cabi Foundation. With each of these actions, we’ll move closer to stamping out global poverty. And so, imagine again that moment when you’re sitting with your family, sharing the role you played in making this a reality. As anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world—it’s the only thing that ever has.” This is cabi’s living legacy— and we invite you to be part of it.