With each fair trade certified stitch in our partner’s factory, Joggo is giving back in order to educate refugee kids in different parts of the world.
LAAH: What exactly is it that you do?
Mohamed: Joggo, which stands for Journey to Greater Good, is a brand of messenger bags manufactured in Nepal by women entrepreneurs under fair trade terms. With the sale of each Joggo bag, we help to support refugee education through our partnership with CARE Canada. The social aspect is just one part of the appeal—these bags are also amazingly convenient and super functional, with multiple pockets inside and out, ensuring that everything you need is literally by your side.
LAAH: When did you start?
Mohamed: Joggo came together like pieces of a puzzle that fitted together perfectly to give birth to this brand. Each piece has had a significant impact upon me and has become a fundamental component of the brand. One of the pieces is the cause we support: Refugee Education. This was inspired by Melissa Flemming (head of communications for the UN’s High Commissioner of Refugees) who, during her TED Talk in October 2014, encourages us to think of refugee camps as “centers of excellence where refugees can triumph over their trauma and train for the day they can go home as agents of positive change and social transformation…Refugees need to thrive, not just survive.” I encourage everyone to watch her TED Talk.
LAAH: Why do you do it and what is the motivation or passion that keeps you going?
Mohamed: I have wanted to get involved in international development for quite some time. Inspired by the various purpose-driven brands that have come out of the United States, I decided to combine my marketing skills with my passion for development to launch a purpose-driven brand. The plight of the refugees is a cause I am passionately drawn to—there are 59 million forcibly displaced people as a result of conflict and war, and access to education gives them hope for a better future.
LAAH: Do you feel that what you have done so far has made a difference? If so, could you explain how?
Mohamed: This is just the beginning of our journey. We truly believe that Joggo, with critical mass, can offer sustainable, scalable solutions to the challenges facing effective humanitarian assistance. Right from the start, we have adopted a business model that is sustainable and inclusive and is fully aligned to advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The foundation of the Joggo brand is built on our continued commitment to driving goal 4 of SDG: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”, represented by our support for refugee education, and goal 8: “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”, represented by our ethical sourcing of Joggo products.
LAAH: Who are your allies and supporters in this enterprise?
Mohamed: CARE Canada is our key partner, and their work is incredible. They provide effective and useful education and training for refugees all over the world. Last year, CARE supported actions in 21 countries, to increase access to education and training for more than 161,000 people who are vulnerable to or were/are affected by conflict and disasters.
We also work very closely with our producers; they fully understand our business model and are truly committed to helping us achieve our goals.
LAAH: Do you have plans to grow your involvement, to expand the scope of your project? If so, can you elaborate upon these plans?
Mohamed: There are many plans and ideas. However, we know that before we take another big leap, we need to establish Joggo as a brand, to gain people’s trust in our quality and our cause, and only then will they join us as we continue our journey.
Mohamed: As with any unfunded start up, the biggest challenge is spreading the word. We rely heavily on media to help us build awareness of Joggo.
LAAH: How can people help you?
Mohamed: The best thing you can do for us is to spread the word and as we are approaching the holiday season, you can support us by considering Joggo bags as a holiday gift for your loved ones. It perfectly fits the holiday spirit.
The Life As A Human team thanks Mohamed Al Lawati and Joggo for the great work that they are doing to educate refugee children in different parts of the world and for giving us this interview. If you know Mohamed or anyone at Joggo, please leave them a comment. We know they would love to hear from you. And be sure to check out their very cool bags!
All Photos Are © Joggo