Episode 17: Where to Even Begin? Megan Reynolds and the Jamila Collective
Meet Megan Reynolds, a San Diego native who has turned her college jewelry business into an avenue of empowerment for refugee women. After witnessing one of the nation’s largest influxes of Syrian refugees into her hometown, Megan knew she had a calling to help. Through a nonprofit, she was able to partner with a Syrian family, welcome and befriend them, and learn about their needs.
What she has found among refugee women is a shared theme of trauma and utter culture shock. The Syrian Civil War is active and ongoing, and many refugees have family members still living through the horrors of war back home. Cultural differences (such as gender roles) make adjustment to the United States difficult, as does living in one of the most expensive cities in the US. Syrian wives are having to enter the workforce, many for the first time ever. Coming from a country where very few women are employed, this can be a struggle. “The women need something to do from home,” Megan explains. She has provided just that.
Megan began employing Syrian women to make jewelry about a year ago, transforming both their lives and her business. Jamila Collective is in its grassroots phase with the goal of spreading its beautiful products all around the country, and with them, the stories of refugee women. Empowering these women through employment is Megan’s heartbeat, and her desire is to reach a wide variety of refugees with her business. Listen in to hear more about these women’s stories as well as Megan’s business journey and the impact it’s making. Her advice to fellow entrepreneurs: “Take those baby steps. Do something…Put the idea out there and see what comes of it!”
To view Megan’s jamila (Arabic for “beautiful”) jewelry and to learn more about Syrian refugee women, visit thejamilacollective.com.
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