Congratulations to our Giving Side of Business Maker Challenge Winner
On winning, Katia says: "There are no words, so here's a picture."
Growing up in Guatemala, Katia Cerwin encountered countless women who never had the chance to earn a formal education. Few were lucky enough to be enrolled in the first place—and by the age of 10, even the lucky ones started to disappear. “They were pulled out for poor performance,” says Katia. The reason? “They’d just started menstruating and didn’t have access to sanitary pads, so they had to stay home.”
Every month, 800 million girls in developing countries around the world miss a full week of classes, and the consequences can be devastating—perpetuating an endless cycle of disempowerment and poverty. “Eventually, parents think their girls are not smart enough to learn,” says Katia. There’s a 30 percent drop-out rate for girls in Guatemala alone.
This is where Katia—and SHEVA, where she serves as creative director—comes in. SHEVA is both a company and an online community where women help women by purchasing feminine care products. For every order received, SHEVA donates a one-month supply of sanitary pads to a girl in need, so she can stay in school, find a job, and contribute to her home and her community.
Together with UPS® CONNECT, we recently asked small business owners to demonstrate their ability to creatively integrate profit and purpose into their companies for our Giving Side of Business Maker Challenge. After carefully screening countless qualified applicants, we’re proud to announce that SHEVA is our winner.
“I always knew I wanted to be part of something meaningful,” says Katia, who is grateful to have had a chance to explore her passion, graphic design, at university and go on to pursue a creative career. “SHEVA focuses on the untapped potential found in women and girls in Guatemala, my beautiful home. I get to do what I love, surrounded by an amazing team on a mission to better the lives of girls and women through a sustainable business model.”
With its $5,000 prize, SHEVA is eager to expand its online community on Sheva.com with a promotion for free shipping on all orders, no matter the purchase price. In the future, Katia is eager to see SHEVA develop alternatives to the commercial sanitary pad that are less expensive and more environmentally friendly. SHEVA’s mission is to empower one million women and girls by 2020.