UNICEF reported in June of this year that in India, 13 million children are out of school and 12.7 million are involved in child labor. De Anne Wingate witnessed the poverty and suffering first hand when she travelled to India for two months in January of 2012 to work with girls forced into the sex slave trade and with children living in slums.
When she returned to America, Wingate knew she had to do something. So she started a nonprofit, Rippled Purpose, to place schools in slums and started Blessed Lotus to fund the mission. Blessed Lotus imports vibrant tunics and pashminas from India. 100% of the retail profits help support local change makers in communities worldwide who realize the importance of education in eradicating vulnerabilities that lead to sex slavery and child labor.
De Anne’s journey to become a social entrepreneur was a circuitous one. Her passion for becoming an agent for global change was initially stirred when she was selected to travel to the former U.S.S.R. in the late 80s as a student ambassador from the United States. De Anne’s alma mater, Rollins College, gave her the opportunity to live and serve in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic, building a medical center and community center.
After graduation, Wingate stumbled upon the internet space in 1997 and her career culminated in running the NY and Chicago digital ad sales offices for Univision, the largest Hispanic media company in the United States. But, she knew that there were bigger plans for her life. So, she quit her job, spent some time in Mexico, and then landed in India.
“When you educate children, specifically girls, it changes the world,” says Wingate. “As a young girl adds another year of education, birth rates decrease. Peace, economy, everything is positively affected. It’s the power of education.”
These beautiful tunics and pashminas serve as platforms for women to spread the mission of Blessed Lotus, seeding hope into slums around the world. Goods for the greater good — what a terrific holiday gift that keeps on giving. We can all make a difference, one tunic at the time.