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How one woman went from art classes with her kids to coordinating over 100 artisans.

By uniting, these artisans give each other a chance to make a living.

How one woman went from art classes with her kids to coordinating over 100 artisans.
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Facebook #SheMeansBusiness

The first time Hema Balakrishnan started working with clay in a course taken with her kids — she knew it would lead her somewhere.

But where? Making a livelihood as a terra cotta artisan — transforming riverbed clay into colorful jewelry — was next to impossible. Freelance jewelers in her community would sometimes have to wait 40 days to be paid for their products.


All images via Facebook's #SheMeansBusiness campaign, used with permission.

That's more than a month before seeing cash flow.

Hema reached out to other artisans and found they all were experiencing the same problem.

She also knew there had to be a better way. A stronger business solution.

So she did it herself.

On her own, Hema connected with 11 separate terra cotta artisan groups — 200 terra cotta artisans total — and coordinated these groups to make feasible career options for the artisans.

The business is thriving.

As she was starting out, things weren't exactly all cheers and support.

"My in-laws were not in favor of me going to work," she told 99% TV Telugu,"so it was a sort of forced staying at home, which made me interested in pursuing lot of courses. So that's what made me interested in pursuing the clay course with my children."

But she didn't give up. This business was her calling.

As Hema told 99% TV Telugu, "Perhaps they thought this was a hobby or something that I would sit from home and do. This is something beyond a personal gain for me. This is something I want to do from the core of my being. It's an inner calling for me."

Many of the women who do the meticulous work of creating terra cotta jewelry are in the field for the love of the craft but also to support their families. Families don't have 40 days to wait for payment. So Hema got involved in all aspects of production of the jewelry to create a system where a livelihood for women artisans was possible. She knew that by pursuing her business, Color D Earth, she would not just be helping herself grow, she'd be empowering others.

"When this business is giving livelihood to so many terra cotta artisans, it gives me great happiness."

Using Facebook to not just sell products, but to promote the social good of her business, Hema has seen her customer base grow. As she told the Facebook #SheMeansBusiness initiative, "The story mattered, and the best way to communicate that story, aside from just speaking about it, was to use the internet."

And she's not stopping there.

After reflecting on all that she has learned in growing Color D Earth, Hema knew she wanted to pay it forward. Now, in addition to running this business, she offers mentorship workshops and coaching to women looking to start their own enterprises.


From a love of clay, she's created a business infrastructure that gives that love back to her community.

And it all started with her following her instincts, listening to her gut, and sticking to it.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Yesterday I was perusing comments on an Upworthy article about Joe Biden comforting the son of a Parkland shooting victim and immediately had flashbacks to the lead-up of the 2016 election. In describing former vice President Biden, some commenters were using the words "criminal," "corrupt," and "pedophile—exactly the same words people used to describe Hillary Clinton in 2016.

I remember being baffled so many people were so convinced of Clinton's evil schemes that they genuinely saw the documented serial liar and cheat that she was running against as the lesser of two evils. I mean, sure, if you believe that a career politician had spent years being paid off by powerful people and was trafficking children to suck their blood in her free time, just about anything looks like a better alternative.

But none of that was true.

It's been four years and Hillary Clinton has been found guilty of exactly none of the criminal activity she was being accused of. Trump spent every campaign rally leading chants of "Lock her up!" under the guise that she was going to go to jail after the election. He's been president for nearly four years now, and where is Clinton? Not in jail—she's comfy at home, occasionally trolling Trump on Twitter and doing podcasts.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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via Twins Trust / Twitter

Twins born with separate fathers are rare in the human population. Although there isn't much known about heteropaternal superfecundation — as it's known in the scientific community — a study published in The Guardian, says about one in every 400 sets of fraternal twins has different fathers.

Simon and Graeme Berney-Edwards, a gay married couple, from London, England both wanted to be the biological father of their first child.

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With the election quickly approaching, the importance of voting and sending in your ballot on time is essential. But there is another way you can vote everyday - by being intentional with each dollar you spend. Support companies and products that uphold your values and help create a more sustainable world. An easy move is swapping out everyday items that are often thrown away after one use or improperly disposed of.

Package Free Shop has created products to help fight climate change one cotton swab at a time! Founded by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as, "the girl with the jar" (she initially went viral for fitting 8 years of all of the waste she's created in one mason jar). Package Free is an ecosystem of brands on a mission to make the world less trashy.

Here are eight of our favorite everyday swaps:

1. Friendsheep Dryer Balls - Replace traditional dryer sheets with these dryer balls that are made without chemicals and conserve energy. Not only do these also reduce dry time by 20% but they're so cute and come in an assortment of patterns!

Package Free Shop

2. Last Swab - Replacement for single use plastic cotton swabs. Nearly 25.5 billion single use swabs are produced and discarded every year in the U.S., but not this one. It lasts up to 1,000 uses as it's able to be cleaned with soap and water. It also comes in a biodegradable, corn based case so you can use it on the go!

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