Meet Lindsay. She is a super sweet girl from Lawrence, Kansas, who is spending a few months here in Guatemala working with us for the summer. Currently a student at Kansas State University, she will graduate next year in Apparel Marketing, International Studies, and Non-profit Leadership.
Her passion for sharing love and light and wanting to spend her life impacting lives in positive ways is why we have been so inspired by her!
We want to get involved and support her mission so this summer we will be donating 10% of every sale that’s made online to her organization, Be The Light Del Mundo (bethelightdelmundo.org).
Here is more about Lindsay and Be The Light Del Mundo.
How did Be The Light start?
I had been spending my summers in Central America doing mission/volunteer work for a few years when in summer of 2015 my sister and I decided to spend a few months in Guatemala. We wanted to raise some funds and decided to do so by designing and selling shirts. My sister studied graphic design and I am studying apparel marketing, international studies, and non-profit leadership so our interests lined up perfectly to make it happen. We finished the Be The Light design and were amazed at how many people bought shirts.
Fast forward to the end of our two months in Guatemala: one of our young students Luisa had contracted a super bad eye infection, the worry was that she would lose her vision. We knew she needed immediate medical attention, but her family did not have the means to take her to the doctor. We wanted to help, and people were constantly asking us if they could still buy a shirt so we decided to open sales again and raise funds for Luisa. Again, we were amazed at the amount of people interested in our shirts, both people we knew personally as well as total strangers. Luisa was able to make a full recovery and we were overwhelmed with the response and support from people back home.
How has it evolved?
From there on we decided to keep the project going, create more designs, and continue to donate 100% of profits. We now have 4 different designs, that are all offered in several different products, and have created an online website for people to place orders on (www.bethelightdelmundo.org). Through our experiences in Guatemala we have met several people who are very deserving of a fair chance at life and to reach their goals, but unfortunately their circumstances do not allow them to do so. Therefore, we help cover the costs of school for several children, have helped young adults pursue English language studies, and constantly seek out other opportunities to impact the community.
Why did you choose Guatemala for your project?
I love Guatemala. Really every everything about it. The culture, the people, the food, the textiles, the architecture. It is an amazing place, yet there is much disparity. It has given so much love, perspective, and life to me that I want to give back as much as I can. I am, as a general rule, super against “hand-outs” or the “Santa Clause” tactic in helping others. Be The Light Del Mundo money does not go towards buying a bunch of cheap toys and going into a random village to distribute them, but rather we strive to make connections with the community and help people we know are in great need in ways that can be sustainable. As Guatemala is one of the most undereducated nations in the world the ability to give people the access to education is one for our focuses and something that we believe can drastically impact lives.
What are your future plans with the project?
Our love for Central America and its people keep us motivated to work and create. My sister lives full-time in Antigua, Guatemala and I am studying at Kansas State University, so running a non-profit is a little difficult. We care about it a lot and want to continue to assist people we know. We don’t have any plans to stop soon and have ideas in the works!
Why did you want to work for Kolt?
When I began traveling to Guatemala I fell in love with all of the textiles and artisan work there is here. There are so many companies that help artisans achieve a better life through beautifully made handmade products, and the concept of connecting people outside of Guatemala to the culture and beauty here is super exciting to me.
Kolt Handmade is awesome because owner Stefanie is a Guatemalan-girl-boss. She was born and raised here and saw need in her community and decided to start a company all on her own. She is involved with literally every single aspect of Kolt Handmade and all of the products are her own designs. She keeps things innovative and unique amongst the hundreds of brands that are creating here in Guatemala, most of which have American, or foreign, leadership. So the products themselves, Stefanie as a person, my pre existing love for Guatemala, and the ability to in some way impact lives were some of the things that really made me want to work for Kolt.
More about Kolt:
By supporting Kolt Handmade you're also helping a small business grow, and allowing us to pay our workers fair wages.
Kolt works to train the local women of Pastores to make our products, improving their skill set and putting them in a better position to support their families. As well as training and providing jobs in the Pastores community, Kolt also works with other artisans and weavers around different regions of Guatemala providing them with increased revenue.