We are coming off an incredible 3rd Anniversary Celebration this past weekend so first things first: thank you for being the best tribe in Raleigh + on the internet.
I sat with the team at the close of the weekend and we talked about how truly humbled we all were by your hugs, your encouraging words of affirmation, and the vision you have for what we can accomplish in the future, together!
When I originally opened The Flourish Market 3 years ago, I thought my heart was beating strong specifically for women in the developing world who could pull themselves out of tough situations through the power of a dignified job.
But as it turns out, my heart was beating for *any* woman that was in the midst of her story of overcoming.
Can I tell you something crazy? That describes at least 90% of the women that walk through our doors at 713 Tucker St.
I put up a post on Instagram Sunday night on this topic and received so many moving private messages that I thought I would send it out via email this week.
If you’ve ever felt like you had to put on a brave face, this post is for you…
As we rolled up to her house 2 weeks ago in Ethiopia, we were told she was the star of the Family Empowerment Program.
She had gone through the program and launched her business last year. Her corner shop was flourishing. Her kids were all in school for the first time. And she was employing other women from her community.
She greeted us at the front grate with the biggest smile and arms wide open ready to hug us.
But as we sat down outside her house and waited for the translator to join us, I could tell that something shifted in her body language + in her spirit.
I knew that familiar face. The face I see on so many women that walk through our doors. And a face I have worn at times, too, in my life.
The face of a woman that didn’t want to burden anyone else with her pain. A woman that wasn’t okay.
Over the next hour, she let her guard down and shared about the political unrest in Ethiopia that had led to the looting of her entire shop the month prior.
She had been stolen from. In fact, the thieves stole seemingly everything from her.
She had to pull her kids out of school so they could work the fields to be able to help feed the family. She was no longer able to pay for their safe place to live.
She was hustling trying to sell coffee in hopes of making a comeback in savings to relaunch her shop, but she was coming up against obstacle after obstacle.
I asked her why she didn’t ask for help from the program, and she said she didn’t want to be a beggar.
We’ve all felt that way haven’t we? Like we didn’t want to be a burden on others.
And I think we’ve all been stolen from at some point. A thief has tried to steal our joy. Our worth. Our success. Our dreams.
When this happens, one of the most courageous things we can do is ask for help. And I watched Ashike courageously do just that.
This week, she’s relaunching her shop + her dream to pull more women in her community out of poverty.
Have you been stolen from, friend?
Ashike represents the women who’s inside all of us when we courageously reach out for help:
The woman who has overcome.
Hear this: you are not a burden. Reach out. Ask for help. We are all in this together!