At the age of 22, Stephanie Woollard encountered seven disabled women subsisting in a tin shed in Kathmandu. Shocked to learn that disabled women are stigmatized in Nepal, Stephanie started helping the women to help themselves. Soon they had a thriving business selling handmade produce, and Stephanie had found her calling as a social entrepreneur making a difference to the lives of others.
Young Australian social entrepreneur Stephanie Woollard began Seven Women after meeting seven disabled women operating out of a tin shed in Kathmandu struggling to make a living and enduring harsh discrimination. Since 2006, Seven Women has been working to empower marginalised Nepalese women through equipping them with the skills and know how to thrive. Eleven years after her first encounter with the seven women that started it all, over 5,000 women have been trained and employed by this high impact fair trade organisation, transforming their lives and their communities. Seven Women, has not only improved the lives of thousands of Nepalese women but the ripple effects have been felt around the globe.
This high impact social business is empowering marginalized women through education, skills training and income generation. Seven Women creates a marketplace for the promotion and sales of high quality hand-made products such as stuffed toys, bags and purses, decorative items, clothing and scarves, all created by disabled yet highly skilled Nepalese craftswomen whose lives have been transformed.
Stephanie’s entrepreneurship now encompasses sustainable tourism and inspirational speaking. In 2016, she was honored at the United Nations with a Rotary Responsible Business Award. Today, Stephanie Woollard's work goes well beyond just benefiting the women crafters that are part of the Seven Women family - she wants every one of us to understand why and how we can all make a difference in society and the world as a whole.
Our approach has always been ‘nothing for free’ which honours the women’s ability to learn, earn and provide for themselves and their families earning fair trade wages.
Seven Women is continually expanding and seeking to make its operations in Nepal self-sustainable. Local income streams are continually developed at our headquarters, to cover a large part of our operating costs.
Buying a product creates increased demand, which enables us to employ more marginalised women in Nepal. Your buying choices make a huge difference. Buy fair trade.
About the author
Stephanie Willard is an award winning Australian social entrepreneur known for founding enterprises with social impact. She created Seven Women, a high impact social entrepreneurship venture in Nepal; her tour company, Hands on Development; and the Kathmandu Cooking School; all these ventures together have impacted the lives of over 5000 marginalised women in the country. Stephanie believes business is a strong force for good and inspires people to adopt responsible business practices as the demand for ethical production booms. She studied a Bachelor of International Development and completed a Masters in Peace and Conflict Research at Uppsala University, Sweden.
Why LoA loves it….
Stephanie Woollard is a great example of a social entrepreneur making a difference to the lives of others, and leading by example. In her book, she makes the point that as global travelers and buyers, we can choose to make conscious purchasing decisions, buying products from brands and companies that operate responsibly. She believes that we all make choices in our lives, and that every one of those choices has an impact.This book is an inspiration to all those women social entrepreneurs who, like Stephanie, are building businesses that can truly have a positive impact on so many people and communities around the world. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa