A trip to India in 2018 changed Martha Graeff’s life forever. She had traveled there for an Ayurveda retreat, but a friend told her she couldn’t leave without visiting the Shanti Bhavan school, a nonprofit organization based in Bangalore, India, that’s dedicated to creating a self-sustainable educational structure for children from the lowest caste. There, the Brazilian model-turned-social entrepreneur learned of the school’s mission to take in impoverished kids until they are ready to find their footing in life. “This method impacted me deeply since it’s a different way to support children’s education,” says Graeff.
Upon returning to Miami, Graeff fostered a passion for giving back and met with friend Danié Gomez-Ortigoza, a Mexican-American multi-media artist and the woman behind the Journey of a Braid blog. “We often spoke about our need to give back and find ways to build a structure that could benefit others given the frivolous fashion ambience we often found ourselves in,” says Gomez-Ortigoza.
In 2018 they joined forces to launch The Bazaar for Good, a network of women who aid underprivileged children through the power of social media. “It was an instant success,” shares Graeff. “Joining forces with other women was what inspired me the most because together we can use our voices and platform in a more effective way.”
One way The Bazaar for Good raises money is by hosting bazaars where friends, brands, and influencers shop donated items at discounted prices. Their next bazaar is scheduled for May.
The Bazaar for Good designates a different country to focus its efforts on each year, and to date, the group has raised nearly $400,000 for those in need. Its members have donated proceeds to build a school in India, partnered with organizations in Venezuela, and this year will work with organizations including the I Love Venezuela Foundation and Mexico’s Hospital Pediatrico Infantil.
“We’ve been lucky enough to partner with the Miami Design District, Funkshion, Raw Residency, Stitch Lab, fantastic friends and influencers, and various brands,” says Gomez-Ortigoza. “In reality what we have created is a big, powerful braid: a network that has proven to be stronger than its individuals.”