More action: edition 2

The vision for Ma. from its inception was to create a brand that transcended its products. In that sense, we’d characterise the social action as the brand; it not only shapes the goals and interests of the brand but influences every course of action we take to grow it. In this particular instance, we wanted to do something that doesn't just give back materially, but also builds a rapport with all those we encountered. 

The mission 

Although we had begun our social impact internationally in Ghana a year ago, we thought it was time we began work locally, on our own soil - Birmingham. Following our celestial collection restock, we used money from those sales to benefit the homeless on the 24th of February. It was very still cold outside so we put together a few things we thought would benefit the people we would come across. We brought beanies, T-shirts, shoes, and this mission’s allocation of ‘the 10%’. The money from the 10% was to be used to purchase or contribute towards whatever else the people we would speak to needed at that given time. We asked the question, “what would you spend £20 on right now?”. For example, if the answer was food, we would buy them the food they wanted. 

We had a variety of scenarios. Not everyone was entirely comfortable with conversing as, naturally, in a tough situation it’s not always ideal to have yet another conversation with a stranger. However, this didn’t deter us from our mission and we were able to not just provide clothing and money for the homeless people we met, but also felt we made a genuine connection with them which is what moved me to write the blog piece in the first place. 

Each of the people we have included in this blog have given consent for their first names to be used. 

We met Luke, who we learnt was a Birmingham City FC fan. This instantly broke any tension in the conversation because one of our members can talk for Britain when it comes to football. We sat down and listened to his story of how he came to be in his position, and learnt that his biggest wish right now was to go and visit his young daughter who lived across the country. With the help from Ma., he was able to get food for the evening and a coach ticket to see his daughter the following day.

We also met Dave, who previously worked in the Army. Upon returning home after serving the country the country, he wasn’t provided with a job or adequate housing options, which unfortunately led him to the streets. Despite this, Dave was incredibly cheerful and up for a nice chat. We were able to share jokes and find common ground. He had a pair of shoes that, though still very loved, weren’t in the best condition. Ma. was able to offer Dave a brand new boxed pair of trainers in addition to the money, which were very well received and appreciated. 

Moving across to the other side of the city centre, we met a very talented individual named Carl (or Pilky as his friends like to call him). Pilky spends his pastime drawing and painting landscapes of the streets he sleeps in, and even does the occasional piece for members of the public he comes across. Listening to Pilky’s story was moving. We sat down and heard about his journey in life so far and aspirations to gain a university scholarship to study art, a subject in which he is clearly gifted. Pilky was reluctant to accept money, but allowed us to pay for a drawing he will pass on to us next time we pass by.

Later on, as our day drew to a close, we met a lovely youthful lad named James. James gave a humorous, yet honest account of his experiences on the streets, and offered a new perspective on how to view life. He was immensely grateful for the new shoes we gifted him, but moreover the time we took to engage with him. When we first offered the new shoes, James was adamant that there must be a catch, or that we were just playing a prank on him, and this was reflective of his past experiences. He was confused as to why people would choose to be so generous. 

Upon reflection, our conversation with him really made us home in on the importance of expressing kindness in situations like this.

We would like to extend James’ gratitude to our many Ma supporters. Each purchase you make helps the movement, and without you, it wouldn’t be possible. The more we succeed as a brand, the more impact we will be able to make in missions like this. And in months to come, we plan on doing more. So please do stay tuned for upcoming blogs and keep on shopping for the items you love.


Written By Nicola & Kieran 

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