“You can give of your spirit by being kind to someone else or showing them empathy.”
Specialising in handmade quilts, Ira’s business helps underprivileged women in the Philippines and Indonesia – every month, she sends batches of quilts to them. “My aim is to get them off the streets and help them put food on the table.” She now has more than 100 women working with her, doing jobs from threadcutting to making patchworks.
Ira recalls how, when she was a child in India, her father would pick homeless people off the streets. “These ‘uncles’ and ‘aunties’ would live with us for months, even years. I didn’t know they weren’t related to us until I was much older!”
The key to taking that first step in giving back to the community, is to start small, she says. “Even addressing your security guard or office cleaner by name and asking about their day means a lot. You can give of your spirit by being kind to someone else or showing them empathy – that’s volunteering, too.”