While helping parents to carry their children more easily is an accomplishment in itself, the founders behind award-winning children’s hip carrier MiaMily (www.miamily.com) have made sure to also give back with other initiatives.
Alessandro and Cecilia (the co-founders and married team behind the company) actually first met because of their shared passion in charity work. Through their experience working and volunteering in orphanages, they’ve learned that newborns are often given formula milk intended for older babies, causing indigestion, pain and discomfort. In some instances, contaminated dirty water is used to mix formula which can lead to illnesses, diarrhea and sometimes even death in infants. Having young kids themselves, they felt pulled to take action and help these young babies. With MiaMily now a global brand, the are 100% dedicated to working with local orphanages and charities to help create a change and save lives.
We sat down with them to find out more behind how MiaMily is giving back…
- As entrepreneurs, why was having a charity mission important to you from the start?
Before meeting Alessandro, I was working as a life coach, and I was really passionate about helping others reach their goals. But living in Switzerland, I realize that all the people I was coaching already lived a privileged life. Then one day Muhammad Yunnus was in town and I went to hear him speak about microfinancing. His talk was very empowering as it made me realize that I didn’t have to wait till I am more successful or have more money to make a real difference. That’s when I started donating to microfinancing organizations. For my 29th birthday, I made a microfinancing birthday wish and a group of friends helped me raise $2500 to helped 100 entrepreneurs ($25 loan each) with their businesses via Kiva. Kiva lets you relend out the loan once it has been repaid so nine years later, the money we raised is still helping people, as a group, we have funded over 400 loans in the total amount of $10,000.
- For every MiaMily sold, you make a donation to the well being of orphans in selected orphanages around the world. Why is this specific “cause” close to your hearts?
During one of my trips back home to visit my family in Taiwan, I learned about Harmony Home Association, a non-profit organization committed to support infants, children and adults who are HIV positive by providing shelter, food, shelter, medical assistance, hospice care, counseling, support group activities, employment/education assistance and memorial services assistance.
At that time, we only had Mia, who was about 1 year old. We learned that volunteers were needed to help with the babies so Alessandro and I went to volunteer for a day at the orphanage. There were 26 babies and 4 volunteers, and we were so understaffed that we basically spent our day trying to rock the crying babies to sleep so that we could move on to the next crying baby. The caregivers are amazing people with huge hearts but due to the lack of resources, the attention these orphans received compared to the attention Mia got from us was night and day. It just broke my heart. When we learned that due to limited funds, a lot of times younger babies are given formula milk intended for older babies, causing indigestion, pain and discomfort, we felt called to help so we personally donated USD 17,000 to help them buy the correct formula and other baby necessities for the 26 orphan babies currently at the orphanage.
- As a husband and wife team, you met through charity initiatives. Tell us the story!
A month after I attended Muhammad Yunus’s talk, during my first lunch with Alessandro, he gifted me Mohammed Yunus’s book, “Creating a World Without Poverty”. We discovered so many things we had in common that day. Turns out that Alessandro was also very into microfinancing. With this common interest in helping others, Alessandro introduced me to his friend, Claudio, founder of a Thai non profit called Sainam Foundation. Sainam helps children who have been orphaned or abandoned by their parents or who come from extremely impoverished families by providing educational scholarships, developmental assistance, and medical care for the neediest people living in the areas near them.
We were so inspired by Claudio’s work that we decided to organize a fundraiser. Our goal was to raise enough money to give 50 children so that they could attend school. We were able to convince a 5 star hotel to donate their venue and provide the beverages, and our Thai chef friend donated her catering service. In the end, we surpassed our goal by raising enough money to not only send 50 kids to school, we also raised enough money to build 3 houses for 3 families who had recently lost their homes to flooding. A few months later, Alessandro flew to Thailand to deliver money to Sainam and to meet the wonderful kids who would be receiving the scholarships.
- Which specific organizations are ones you work closely with most?
Due to our personal relationship with Claudio, it was natural for us to work with Sainam. Since Alessandro has visited the Sainam community, we know that the money we donate will be put to good use. Claudio is also really good about sending us monthly updates.
- What is your overall goal for MiaMily and helping to make the world a better place?
Our goal for MiaMily is to partner up with a global charity organization that focuses on fighting the lack of education in the undeveloped country. We believe that education is the key to help children reach their potential by becoming adults who can help their community. Our desire to help is not limited to making education more accessible; for example, during the refugee crisis in 2015, I kept seeing news clips of families with young babies fleeing their country. All I could think of was how tired and scared the parents and babies were so we reached out to Carry The Future organization and we sent Miamily carriers to their camps to help refugee families keep their babies close and safe to them during their long and difficult journey.
- Where can people buy your products?
In the US, our products are sold at BuyBuy Baby stores and online at Target, Macys, Saks Fifth Avenue, Walmart and we have distributors worldwide.