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International Women's Day 2015 - Parker Clay Ethiopia

Parkey Clay Co-Founder Brittany Bentley with young mother and child in Ethiopia

Co-Founder Brittany Bentley with young mother and child in Ethiopia

Four Women With Hope

Kidist was less than 10 years old when she was forced to leave her rural home in the countryside and head to the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa.  She fled an unhealthy and abusive home life for the promise of a greater life in the capital city of Addis Ababa. But that hope was quickly stolen. With no support system or people to trust, she was caught up in a line of work that would ultimately take her to the lowest point in her life.  Within days of arriving, her virginity would be auctioned off to the highest bidder, she would be raped, and any piece of dignity and self worth would be stripped away by the shame of a life in prostitution.

It’s estimated that over 150,000 women in Addis Ababa are involved in some sort of prostitution. They can earn as little as $0.10 per client, and from many of the women we have spoken with, they often are taken advantage of and never even paid.  Kidist is a real woman, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend.  Kidist is a young women we met early upon moving to Ethiopia in 2012, her name has been changed to protect her identity, but she represents a story that we have heard all too often.

Foundational to Parker Clay is the idea that great business can do great things beyond just the products or services they offer.  We started Parker Clay because of our passion to see the opportunity and potential in situations when others would just see problems.  While living in Ethiopia we worked firsthand with vulnerable women such as Kidist, who had been caught up in the commercial sex industry.  We partnered with an organization called Women At Risk (WAR) that operates across Ethiopia to help with rehabilitation and job placement opportunities for these incredible women.  WAR has been going into the streets of Ethiopia reaching out in to these incredible women offering them the opportunity to restore what has been taken, and they have been wildly successful at it with over 94% of the women graduating their program never going back into prostitution.  

“As the idea of Parker Clay was developed, we knew that we wanted to continue to give back to help this amazing organization and people that we are humbled to call our friends.” Brittany Bentley Co-Founder

Today, we are excited to announce that your purchases and support have helped Parker Clay sponsor four women to go through the Women At Risk program in Ethiopia.  These are four women who will be given the opportunity of a life time to find hope, restore dignity, and leave prostitution forever.  We have seen firsthand how empowering the team at WAR is with these women, and we couldn’t be more pleased to be supporting their ongoing work at this level so early in the start up at Parker Clay.  Kidist is now off the streets and working as a chef. This job not only helps her provide for her family and even open a savings account, but has provided Kidist with community of empowerment.

Those of you who have supported Parker Clay, and might even be carrying one of our products right now, have just altered the life of four women just like Kidist.  These women now have the opportunity to know that their value and worth are nothing less than incredible.  We are deeply humbled that you have joined us to be intentional about how you purchase products that strive to not only look great, but that also have great impact in the world.

Today is a step toward our goals and we need your continued support to see the lives of more women changed.  Will you join us?

-Ian & Brittany Bentley  |  Parker Clay Co-Founders