The Paper Vase that you can find in our Art Gift Box, doesn't just look great. It's a part of something bigger and more important: help 1 million people out of poverty and stay out of it by 2030. Not just a story of corporate responsibility, but the inspiring story of their founder Laurien Meuter.
For years Laurien Meuter (1976) worked as a banker for ABN AMRO in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. "I was born in an affluent neighborhood close to Amsterdam. With a carefree upbringing, I basically lived the life that a child born in a family, grown up in a social circle like mine, was destined to live: grammar school, the local tennis club, studied Corporate Finance, became a banker and bought an apartment on one of the Amsterdam canals at 30" Laurien explains.
"Looking back, I never questioned what I was doing with my life. Where I was going. I was just living happy and carefree. And had it not been for Kiran and Sharief, I think I might never have."
Search failed, a seed planted
Kiran (7) was a drug addicted child living on the streets of Mumbai, India. Larurien met him at a shelter in 2005, where she volunteered during the weekends. During the week she worked for a bank.
"Kiran and I had an instant connection and spent lots of time together. One day he was gone. According to his friends, he took an overdose behind the station, a life-threatening area for anyone. Without thinking, I went out to search for him, determined to find him. I searched for hours and hours coming across the most horrible scenes. I never saw Kiran again."
"Looking back during search for Kiran the seed was planted for what Tiny Miracles is doing today. Kiran’s photo is still in my little shrine at my house. He has been and always will be the source of inspiration for Tiny Miracles."
Credit: Tiny Miracles
Sharief and Laurien ‘met’ while she was riding her bicycle in Amsterdam: "I did not give him right of way and I ended up under the wheels of his van". After this accident she recovered in a rehab centre, building a close bond with two complete strangers through their conversations.
"But unlike what I was used to, our conversations were never about what kind of work we did, where we lived, who we knew and what we bought. I realized that the life I was living could be so much more fun and fulfilling if I listened to my internal compass than that I made my decisions influenced by external expectations. The urge to listen to my heart grew stronger and my purpose became more and more clear."
She called Sharief: "I thanked him. I told him that the consequences of the accident had brought me one of the most important lessons of my life – the seed that Kiran planted had had time to grow."
Scale it up!
After recovering Laurien went on to found Tiny Miracles. It's a holistic approach of which the products are just one part. Besides income generation the foundation for all acitvities lies in these key areas: awareness, education, healthcare and celebration. They are currently working on scaling their methodology through a tech platform so that 1 million people can get out and stay out of poverty by 2030.