After Taylor's first year of business school, she traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she met an Ethiopian entrepreneur named Salem Kassahun. Living in a society where the odds are stacked against women in business, Salem paved a way to fulfill her dream of handcrafting exquisite, traditional Ethiopian rings and other products, bringing to life her own company Salem’s Designs.
Taylor was taken aback not only by the beauty of Salem’s handmade products, but also by her commitment to ending the cycle of poverty. Salem fights the poverty cycle by quadrupling the average Ethiopian wage, empowering her employees financially. Socially, Salem’s family has launched a mentorship program, taken 150 children off the streets, and started the Ethiopian chapter of the international organization YoungLife. Read the story of Kiddist below, a young girl who climbed her way to the top of her class with Salem’s support.
Salem told Taylor the story of a young girl named Kiddist.
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Her single-father was an employee of Salem's, and despite Salem's best efforts to guide Kiddist's father, Kiddist was not receiving the life she deserved and was unlikely to make it past the 6th grade.
But Salem saw her curiosity when she read books in the shop and wanted to give Kiddist the chance to seize her days. She sponsored her schooling starting at the age of 6, and now at 18: she is the top of her class, she is top 4 in all of Addis Ababa and she is attending university on a full ride scholarship.
Kiddist's brilliance would have never been realized had it not been for Salem's belief in her potential.
There are millions of girls who are just waiting for the chance to learn, and it is in our power to change that. The goal of the7dayringproject is to allow more girls like Kiddist to realize their potential, and to help them seize the day.
One day, Taylor noticed the7dayring in Salem’s shop and asked her about it. Salem explained that the ring and its seven bands, one for each day of the week, is a reminder for us to make the most of each day, to live life fully and intentionally. For Taylor, this powerful reminder planted an idea that would create real change in the lives of girls in Ethiopia .