What better way to commemorate International Women’s Day (March 8th) than by celebrating the women of the Umbari villages in India — the sourcing grounds of the certified organic turmeric, which is a star ingredient of our new Invati Advanced™ Solutions for Thinning Hair? The story begins with our partnership with Nisarga, an Indian firm that grows Ayurvedic herbs.
Through our quest for the highest quality certified organic turmeric and our work with Nisarga, we learned that the Umbari villages near where we source our turmeric did not have access to clean water year-round. During the sweltering summer months, the women of the village had to spend up to six hours per day traveling to distant locations to collect drinking water, often finding once they arrived that the water source was unfit for consumption.
Aveda joined forces with our global Earth Month partner Global Greengrants Fund and AWARD (Action for Women and Rural Development) to improve the community’s local water system. Now the 800 Umbari villagers have easy access to clean water year-round — and the women of the villages have more time to spend with their families, earn income and receive and provide education.
Clean water was just the beginning. Through other grants made by Aveda through Global Greengrants Fund, AWARD has worked with the women of Umbari to develop Kitchen Gardens at households and schools to help address the village’s nutrition.
Prior to a three-year AWARD project funded by Aveda, Umbari villagers did not grow vegetables on their own land due to a shortage of water, seeds and agricultural knowledge. The only available vegetables were expensive and sold far away, so the villagers weren’t able to consume enough of the nutrients they needed. Today, thanks to this project, more than 200 female farmers and four schools have set up “kitchen gardens” utilizing the clean waste water from their kitchens to better nourish the community, and they prepare vegetables like spinach, pumpkin, and okra.
Says Melissa Chelminiak, Director of Mission, Partner and Stakeholder Engagement at Aveda, “The kitchen garden project in Umbari is an excellent example of how empowering women and their families to be able to better provide for themselves can have a substantial positive impact in their communities and beyond.”
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