Candles for Social ChangeGAMBIER, Ohio (October 19, 2010)
Shining a light into the heart of darkness, a Kenyon alumna and student are improving the lives of women in countries shattered by war, social unrest, and natural disaster. Siiri Morley '00 is a founding partner of Prosperity Candle, a for-profit social business venture that initiates and supports candle-making enterprises among women in distressed areas such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Rwanda, and Haiti. Ananda Plunkett '11 joined the team this summer to work on Web development and other public relations tasks. Plunkett is the daughter of another founding partner, Amber Chand.
Prosperity Candle recently completed a year-long pilot project in Baghdad, where it equipped forty-four women with candle-making kits and trained them in the candle-making process. The company ensures that the women receive 20 to 25 percent of the retail price of their candles. "Several women have earned more than the average wage in Iraq, and one woman is earning almost twice the average wage," Morley said.
After graduating from Kenyon, Morley earned an M.B.A. at Brandeis University and worked with crafts businesses that aimed to empower women. She traces her interest to the international studies major at Kenyon, in particular to the guidance of two faculty members, David Suggs of the Anthropology Department and Wendy Singer of the History Department.
Plunkett, a music major, worked at her mother's firm for the first time this summer and is composing a score for a YouTube video about Prosperity Candle. "Working there this summer showed me how I could use my music for a humanitarian purpose," she said, "and opened me up to another field of interest."
To order candles or learn more about Prosperity Candle, visit http://prosperitycandle.com.