It’s not just good genes that can run in a family. It’s good ideas and intentions. This mom & daughter are both fighting to make the world a better place for children in need. Here’s how.
When Tamara Gisiger, 12, a New York City student, found out that teens in many parts of the world, including India and Indonesia, have to stop going to school because they can’t afford to buy a uniform, she was shocked and appalled. “It’s stupid, I don’t understand why they do it,” a frustrated Tamara told HollywoodLife.com. “It breaks my heart that such a small object, like a school uniform, can determine the future of someone like me.” Many of these countries do cover the cost of children’s uniforms until they turn 12, Tamara learned, but they stop at that point, and if their family’s can no longer cover the cost of the $10 uniform, they can’t go to school. That’s the reason behind huge dropout rates in countries like India, Indonesia, Uganda and Rwanda.
“When I found out about this, I was shocked,” explains Tamara. Fortunately, she learned about a fashion company called NALU, started by two other teens, Dali, 16, and Finn, 14, Schonfelder, with the goal of designing collections of T-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets ($19-$59) with profits used to buy school uniforms for teens in 3rd world countries. A few months ago, Tamara became NALU’s US Goodwill Ambassador. It’s not surprising that Tamara has thrown her energy into working to improve the lives of young people in poor communities.
Her mother, Claudia Romo-Edelman, 47, has made a career of also striving to better the lives of literally billions of people around the globe. Claudia is a UNICEF Special Advisor and previously worked for the Secretary General of the United Nations advocating for sustainable development goals and fighting climate change. Whew! Now, Claudia and journalist Edie Lush have just launched the Global Goalscast, a podcast which will tell the stories of people, companies and organizations which are working to achieve a more sustainable world.
President Donald Trump may fantasize that global warming is just a hoax, but Romo-Edelman and Lush will talk to world leaders and individuals who are working to make life on earth sustainable in the face of the effects of climate change and other challenges. “We are trying to make sustainability sexy and doable for everyone,” Claudia tells HollywoodLife.com. “I have worked all my life on sustainability and on helping refugees. I want to tell more people about this and help them to take their own actions.” She and Lush have interviews lined up with global leaders like Malala, Bill Gates, and Will.I.Am. They plan to have a conversation with Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates at the Davos World Economic Forum this month. Gates has devoted himself to improving healthcare and fighting hunger so people can lift themselves out of extreme poverty.
The pair will post 24 podcast episodes this year and several will also address women’s empowerment. “When I was a special advisor for UNICEF, one of the big issues I focused on was violence against women — 1 in 4 girls in the world are victims of violence — so having things like the ‘#MeToo’ campaign are moments to celebrate,” explains Claudia. She couldn’t be prouder of Tamara’s efforts now to improve the lives of children by enabling them to stay in school. Gisiger explains that when children’s families can not buy their uniforms, the young teen girls are forced to get married or to go to work in factories.
She met NALU creators Dali and Finn, who launched their company after traveling in India, where they learned about the plight of children, forced to drop out of school . Now, for every four items they sell, they donate a uniform to a child in need. Since becoming a NALU ambassador, Tamara estimates that she’s sold about 1,000 pieces of clothing. Now, she will go on a ‘giving’ trip to Indonesia in March, visiting communities and schools and delivering 10,000 uniforms. “I’m really excited about giving a uniform to a child in need,” Tamara said.
If you want to help a teen continue school by shopping at NALU or by becoming an ambassador, too, go to NALU.com. Listen to the Global Goalscast here, and get inspired by the energy and doing-power of this mom and daughter, striving to make the world a healthier, more educated and sustainable place.