After graduating as a fashion designer, Project Três founder Carla Maria de Souza worked for more than six years at some of Brazil’s top fashion brands. As she moved up in the fashion industry, by the age of 23, she began to realize its limitations, especially those related to social and environmental sustainability. Carla gave up her stable career and took a sabbatical year in California.
While traveling on a journey towards empowerment to heal the wounds left by domestic violence experienced in her childhood, Carla felt a need to share her story and inspire people to overcome their struggles and traumas.
Using her skills, she wanted to transform fashion into a path of empowerment, in a sustainable, fair, and ethical way. She wanted to start a movement. Project Três was born.
In 2015 she packed all her dreams and moved to India to immerse herself in the local culture. Project Três began when Carla met Farida, the first woman to join her in India.
Carla meets Farida
Farida used to work 18 hours a day and raise her 4 kids by herself. After witnessing Farida's living conditions and because of her own struggle with domestic violence, Carla saw the need to empower women and promote equality. She lived for one month with Farida and her family to identify what improvements could be done. Farida worked as a babysitter in a local casino and had a dream of starting her own babysitting business. Raising money through a crowdfunding campaign and finding sponsors for the children’s tuition, Carla was able to support Farida during the transition to becoming a private business owner. The financial support in combination with mentorship from Carla teaching Farida business acumen and money management she was able to successfully make the shift to owning her own business.
Farida is now the president of the NGO in India managing the project with ease and has also grown her babysitting business enough to employ other women. Farida is a symbol of empowerment in her community and the world.
Empowering women in Kenya
In 2017, in partnership with education NGO, Hai Africa, the project expanded to Nairobi, Kenya. The partnership was born out of a need to help the mothers to provide a more stable home environment so that their children’s education could be supported within the home as well. This is because most families were living in extreme poverty, without a safe source of income the mothers were not able to focus on supporting their children’s education. Instead of focusing their attention on meeting their basic needs such as clean water, food, and providing a roof over their heads.
We began our activities with 14 women, all mothers of children involved in Hai Africa's program, offering training and work opportunities that were non-existent until then.
Today, women have become skilled artisans with their work being sold across the globe.
How we work
Currently, Project Três provides jobs for 31 artisans in India and in Kenya, and through education and community training, has empowered over 100 women since the beginning of the project. We have 30 people volunteering with us, being 90% of women. We are located in 11 different cities and 7 different countries.