This past Tuesday Berkeley Women in Business hosted entrepreneur Mudita Tiwari, founder of the House of Alva. This unique female leader came to share her story and inspire entrepreneurship, service, and philanthropy in a new generation of women. Tiwari, an alumnus of the Goldman School of Public Policy, quit her high profile corporate consulting job to find a deeper meaning in life and search for a way to help others.
During Tiwari’s travels to India, she was inspired to help financially dependent women in the community discover ways to support themselves by teaching practical skills such as making a craft or performing a service they could sell. These women became the first members of The Sewing Project which eventually grew into the House of Alva Foundation.
Tiwari faced many social challenges on her mission to get these women integrated into the workforce, but she never waivered from her goal because she knew investing in women was an investment in society. Statistics show that women are more likely than men to invest their money in education, household improvement, and food for their children. By investing in career training for these women, Tiwari was helping everyone in the community.
When choosing what trade to focus on teaching these women, Tiwari chose scarf making because she knew how much improvement was needed in the textile industry. The textile industry falls at the forefront of pollution, and is known for its child labor problems and its hazardous working environments. Tiwari knew there was a better way, which led her to teach the local female artisans age-old, ecofriendly techniques of scarf making. The House of Alva focuses on natural, organic textiles, and emphasizes sustainability alongside quality and design. Tiwari encouraged the college students listening to buy with purpose, and to use their consumer power for good.
As The Sewing Project grew into the House of Alva, and production of high quality scarves increased, these core values were kept close at heart. The women crafting the scarves were allowed to dictate their own terms of employment by planning their own working schedules. This allowed these busy mothers and wives enough flexibility to still take care of their many other responsibilities.
In addition to career training Tiwari brought other programs on women’s health and financial literacy to the Indian communities she worked with. She loves being able to see the impact she is making on the lives of others and feels her work is extremely rewarding.
You could see the pride on Tiwari’s face as she pulled brightly colored scarves from an overflowing suitcase propped on a desk at the front of the classroom. She passed the scarves around letting students feel the fabric that had brought so many women a small step closer to financial freedom.
I encourage you to check out the website HouseOfAlva.com and help support a fellow golden bear on her mission to change the world! Please leave a comment sharing what you are doing to change the world, or if you have any advice or encouragement for current entrepreneurs.