How many times have we heaved a heavy sigh saying, ‘Man, if I ruled the world…”? We dream about peace on earth, eradication of poverty and for the Tupac hologram to go on tour, right? But there’s always this little voice that chimes in telling you that “you can’t”. We want you to meet Sandra Sorial of SALT, who is showing Toronto and the world what happens when you tell that little voice to shut up and just go with your gut.
“SALT is a social enterprise that supports local artisans in impoverished communities around the world by telling their stories and marketing their products around the globe” explains Sandra, who founded SALT in the summer of 2011 along with her partner, Rafik Riad. It’s a simple idea that is creating a huge effect. For example, when a woman living in the slums of Cairo is able to sell a handmade silk tablet cover or change purse using traditional, hand-woven techniques through SALT’s efforts, it can provide her with an income, a chance to seek out education, health care and not to mention, recover her dignity and self-worth. Sandra recalls, “One artisan I remember, when asked why she does what she does, said: ‘this work to me, is freedom’.”
So where did her yearning to extend a helping hand beyond borders come from? She talked about a special day at school for kids in her motherland, Egypt, called, “Visite Sociale”, which is essentially a day where children are volunteering in the community, exposing them to all the daily difficulties of some less fortunate. She says, “It made us realize from our early childhood that there are a lot of inequalities and there is a lot of room for us to do something about it. It was also the time we realized that doing something good is not out of privilege, it is a responsibility.”
Witnessing inequalities first hand was a harsh reality that propelled her to dedicate her work to help serving those in need. After years of hard work, gaining experience globally about what works and what doesn’t, Sandra and Rafik combined minds to create SALT.
“We started with one partnership and now have grown our enterprise to over 10 organizations serving thousands of artisans especially women and individuals with special needs. Our first event was an open day that sold out! Before our website launched, our line was carried at Toronto’s Ritz Carlton and now our online store is up and we are always onto greater heights.”
Every single day we make decisions on who pockets our money, at the hair salon, restaurant, the mall, etc. If you take few moments to educate yourself on who you are supporting, you can change your habits in a way that helps someone out there struggling and praying for better days. “We are so lucky to be living in a diverse city like Toronto and privileged with access to information. Ask questions, get informed, shop ethically! It’s fun!”
To shop or learn more visit: saltmatters.com
Posted by Samira Zia Rehman