Megan Cayten and her business partners Sumana Setty and Amisha Patel started the Catrinka Project as an avenue to help young girls in their community. The project is brilliant in its simplicity.

“Buy a bag. Employ a woman. Educate a girl.”

The project sells fashionable bags and purses that are made by women in developing countries. The sale of each bag provides education and life mentoring for adolescent girls.

Cayten founded the project because of the cycle of sustainable development that it can create in many communities. When women earn their own income, they can afford to send their daughters to school offering them greater opportunities in life.

It is a well-established fact that women reinvest twice as much of their income in their families and communities as men. In addition, the attendance of girls is likely to avoid child marriage.

In addition to the sale of bags, The Catrinka Project has an ambassadors program for women entrepreneurs who want to become part of the sales network.

The International Center for Research on Women spotlighted Cayten and her project, which falls in line with goals to empower and educate women and girls.

Projects that are able to empower communities locally in a sustainable manner are the most effective for development goals. With the world so connected today, it is possible for communities to work together in this form of empowerment.

It is critical that we do not view those living in developing countries as producers of goods to be consumed from abroad. Instead, when we view the relationship as an equitable partnership, there is potential for lasting positive change for women and girls.

Iliana Lang

Sources: Catrinka Project, ICRW
Photo: Cloud Front