Teens Rising To End Extreme Poverty

Teens Rising To End Extreme Poverty

An Innovative Social Entrepreneurship Program For Teens

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Last Update: August 20, 2014

Carmel JudCarmel JudFounder

Rising International trains local women and teens to be social entrepreneurs by running their own Rising home party businesses. Parties feature education about the plight of women worldwide and create a marketplace for beautiful crafts handmade by women survivors of war, rape and human trafficking.

Founded: 2002 Type: citizen sector

The Problem

The problem is extreme poverty locally and globally. Locally, single mothers, many of whom are teens, fall victim to the highest poverty rates. This problem is exacerbated by the growing lack of economic mobility for the poor in Northern California. Globally, over 1 billion people are trying to live on less than $1/day. The majority are women who are struggling simply to find a place in the world economy.

The Solution

Rising International is the first non-profit to use the 117 billion dollar direct sales model to solve extreme poverty locally and globally. Here’s how it works: Zaina, a rape survivor in eastern DR Congo, makes beautiful aprons but can’t find a viable market. Rising purchases her aprons at a living wage, sustaining Zaina. Rising trains high school student, Tina in East Salinas, to run her own Rising home party business. Tina learns Zaina’s story and turns empathy into action. A homeowner in Pebble Beach hosts a Rising party where Tina sells Zaina’s crafts. Through her training, Tina is able to educate party attendees about Zaina and others like her, while earning $28/hr. Party goers are inspired and sign up to host more parties.

Example

Susana completed Rising’s program while attending high school. Her training included creating a presentation on global poverty, and selling products made by struggling artisans. After graduating, she decided to continue as a social entrepreneur. Then tragedy struck. Her brother was killed in a drive by shooting. After running just three Rising home parties, she earned enough money to help move her family to a safer neighborhood. She did much more than just keep her family safe. Products sold at those three home parties impacted Fatima in Afghanistan, a widow that makes dolls to sell at Rising Home Parties. Fatima earned enough money selling her dolls to send her children to school. Susana and Fatima empowered each other to rise.

Impact

We believe vibrant communities are diverse and inclusive. Every year, over 10,000 Bay Area community members participate in Rising home parties and events. Parties are held in main street homes, mansions, dorms, beauty salons, and tech companies. We’ve trained over 100 women and teens to be local entrepreneurs. 82% come from low-income backgrounds. 44% are Hispanic, 37% Caucasian with the remaining varied. We believe vibrant communities have an abundance of opportunity. Our local entrepreneurs come to us with little or no previous experience, and earn an average of $28/hr. selling crafts at home parties. 64% reported expanding their social capital by acting upon a new education or income prospect as a direct result of meeting someone through Rising’s home party network. These local entrepreneurs, while rising themselves, are lifting 15,000 women artisans and children out of poverty.

Full Impact Potential

We will train over 200 Bay Area teens to be Rising entrepreneurs, and become part of our Rising America Initiative. We then plan to replicate our program across the US, bridging economic and cultural divides. Our long term vision is to create one of the largest global networks for ending extreme poverty. Avon for example, has 5 million reps selling make up. Now imagine 5 million teen entrepreneurs selling goods made by the poorest women in the world. We accomplish a mass spread of empathy, intelligent and compassionate awareness of each other, and a self sustaining market for millions.

Budget: $250,000 - $500,000

Financial Sources

Friends and family, Individuals, Foundations, Businesses, Clients, Other

Sustainability Plan

Our direct sales approach uses an established revenue generating model. Direct sales yields more than $32 billion in sales in the U.S. alone. Over 74% of Americans have purchased goods or services through direct selling. Our strategic plan shows we can be self sustaining once we’re holding 9700 parties per year, a conservative goal to an industry norm of several hundred thousand parties per year, and achievable in 5 years or less.

Marketplace

Many organizations have committed to ending poverty. However, to the best of our knowledge, there are no other non-profits using the direct sales model to impact poverty both locally and globally. Using this proven and highly successful model means we don’t have to waste resources “re-inventing the wheel”. In addition, although social entrepreneurism is at all time highs, there’s a scarcity of social entrepreneurial training programs for teens. Our training engages youth in solving poverty while gaining business acumen that paves the way to become college or career ready.

Founding Story

I was a teen runaway. Entrepreneurism changed my life. I started my first company at 19. I can’t think of a better way to have learned problem solving, self confidence, and the importance of listening to others. I started Rising after hearing about the Taliban imprisonment of Afghan women. I was shocked. I searched everywhere for something I could do about it. I found a project that was supporting widows who were making pillows in a refugee camp. I ordered one. I’ll never forget the moment it arrived, traveling oceans and mountains to my home. It was her messenger. I heard her say “I have hopes and dreams. Please don’t forget about me.” I started holding home parties, sharing stories, selling crafts and mobilizing people to care.

Team Explanation

Our executive director has over 20 years of experience running a marketing and advertising firm. Clients included Microsoft, AT&T and Macys. Working advisors: Dean of Strategic Management at MIIS; Attorney with Morrison and Foerster; Researcher at MIT’s Poverty Lab; Former CFO of DHL and Visa; HR expert, City of Santa Clara; Several leading experts in direct sales. Several high school and college teachers actively involved as volunteers.

Team Members

Challenges

Building Vibrant Communities: Activating Empathy to Create Change

Supplemental Information

On which of the following California counties does your project focus its impact? (check all that apply):

San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, Monterey, Other.

How does your idea help cultivate empathy skills to strengthen communities and equip young people to become leaders of change?

“Everyone comes to our high school trying to help us. Rising was the first to tell us we could help others.” Said Tina from Alisal High School. Most Rising teen entrepreneurs tell us that they didn’t know that they had the power to affect change. Participating in our program gives them a channel for exercising their empathy, and expanding it locally and globally.

Our teen entrepreneurs learn to acknowledge and talk about some of the biggest issues faced by the world today, such as human trafficking and genocide. While many people look the other way, our teens learn to effectively share and act on their passion for the issues that mean the most to them, and ultimately inspire empathy and action in others.

Needs/Offers

Need

Offer

Tell us about your partnerships

We’ve implemented a variety of programs at schools including:
Castilleja Independent School for Girls – Developed a jewelry design workshop that enabled students to co-create a pendant with women rescued from brothels in India
Alisal High School - Developed a youth social entrepreneurial training course
The Harker School – Launched our first student lead Rising Club
UC Santa Cruz - Co-founded the groundbreaking course, Social Change

Challenges

Our primary challenge is the lack of paid staff. Just 2 full time, and 2 part time members oversee the local entrepreneurial program, and the global program in 25 countries. The remainder consists of volunteers and interns. With this grant, we could add more highly skilled staff members including a full time local program director, teen outreach recruiters and training facilitators. In addition, we plan to recruit working business mentors from the home party/direct sales industry. We have a strategic plan to recruit at least 20 seasoned home party professionals in the next year.

Does your project use any of the following approaches to cultivate community members as empathetic and collaborative leaders?

encouraging philanthropy, building leadership skills, storytelling, immersion, collective problem-solving, identifying shared values and differences, instilling courage, enabling action.

Target Age Group(s)

6-12, 13-17, 18-35.

Comments & Activity

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Comments & Activity

Comments

Subhashish Acharya profile img
Mon, 09/22/2014 - 21:52

Carmel, what a brilliant idea!
Congratulations. Innovative, Smart, 21st Century thinking!

Two things:

1. Would you be able to check what we do. www.pstarfish.org

2. Is there a possibility we can have you as a speaker via the phone to speak to smart blind/disabled professionals from 5 countries to hear your journey and vision.

Thanks/Subs

Carmel Jud profile img
Mon, 09/22/2014 - 22:08

Thank you! Yes, will check out your site now and would be honored to speak to the amazing professionals you work with!