In March of 2016, the chaos of sights, sounds, and smells of India filled our days…and our nights.
It was powerful and overwhelming, yet humility and beauty intermingled with every step we took.
Dreams of change, determination to see it through, stark and a constant awareness of our own wealth in comparison ruled our days there.
Since that trip anything India catches my eye, my heart, and my attention.
When I read of India in the news I immediately think of the women we met, the lives that for a brief time embraced us and invited us in.
I think of the contrast of desperate survival and joyful living that we witnessed.
Today marks an event that I had no knowledge of.
I wonder if you knew that 5 years ago today, 1,138 workers were killed when a multi-story building collapsed?
That thousands were injured?
That they were making clothing…for us?
On April 23, large cracks were found in the structure of the Rana Plaza building, in the Dhaka District, Bangladesh.
The lower floors were shut down, but the garment workers on the upper floors were ordered to return to work the next day.
The building collapsed only hours after their work day started.
Many survived, buried for days and often rescued only by amputation of limbs. 80% were women ages 18 to 35.
Today, lives remain devastated–both survivors and the families of the deceased.
It is easy to sit in my comfortable office and not feel many emotions over words written in black and white.
But when I allow myself to think of this being my family affected, my sister buried and it suddenly gives me a pit in my stomach.
I can only imagine their stories…and I don’t want to imagine.
It’s easier to go on about my day…not allowing myself to think about what I need to change.
It’s easier to simply not be affected.
I am reminded that I am called to “weep with those who weep”. (Romans 12:15)
I am told that when one “part of the body suffers, every part suffers”. (1 Cor 12:26)
And I remember: they were my sisters and brothers in Christ, my family.
I am called to change my purchasing habits,
to be aware of how my choices affect others
and to do what I can to display the tender love of Jesus to the broken.
The Fashion Revolution is one simple way to practically help.
Want to know more?
They believe in these three thoughts:
1.THE MODEL-Fashion Revolution believes that the whole fashion industry needs a radical paradigm shift and that the way that we produce and consume clothes needs to be transformed.
2. MATERIAL-Human rights abuses and environmental degradation remains rife. The harsh reality is that basic health and safety measures do not exist for many of the people working in fashion’s supply chains. The legal minimum wage in most garment-producing countries is rarely enough for workers to live on.
3. THE MINDSET:-Ultimately, we need to buy less, buy better and keep asking questions about the realities behind what we’re purchasing. We need to love the clothes we already own more and work harder to make them last.
Other practical ways you can help are:
-Get educated-our Pinterest boards has lots of pins to help you! There are countless ways to help online.
-Research your favorite brands.
-Purchase second hand, visiting thrift stores or garage sales.
-Buy only what you need. Simplify your closet. Think quality and not quantity.
-Try clothing swaps
-Consider buying homemade. Support a local artisan.
We at Mercy Market support several groups that work with fabric, creating clothing and textiles for you.
Freeset, Purnaa, SariBari, Love Calcutta Arts, Nightlight are just a few we love working with. We love to help you purchase their products and often have many items in stock. For more information, contact us or use the links below:
The bottom line is that it’s not easy to be aware of how our purchasing choices affect others. It’s hard to find time to be educated and aware.
But, we are not only called to change–but to care!
Pick a small step that will begin your journey of ethical, fair trade shopping today–and impact the lives of thousands of people.
Then, let us know what change you are making today!
Want to read more about our trip to India? Here is the 3-part series: