Red Dirt: Fighting poverty one cell phone case at a time
6:39 AM, Apr 4, 2013
KANSAS CITY, MO - Two local women are working to bring the world out of poverty one cell phone case at a time.
Christina Eldridge and Dawn Taylor launched their online company Red Dirt the first week of April. Right now, they're selling unique cell phone cases designed by many local artists including Mike Savage, Lisa Lala and Janelle Dimmett.
"We wanted to pick a product that people could see that you can carry with you, everyday. People have their smart phones; It's almost an appendage. It's in their hand constantly so it's a visible product," said Eldridge.
The cell phone cases are $37 each and a portion of the proceeds go to support Water.org, a non-profit based in Kansas City that helps provide clean drinking water to people across the world.
Clean drinking water is an issue both women are passionate about.
"We don't realize it because we can go to taps within our own homes and get a clean glass of water. We sit down at a restaurant and there's a clean glass of water in front of you. We really don't put much thought to it but the fact is 780 million people in this world do not have access to clean water. That's more than two and a half times the population of the United States."
Eldrige believes giving people access to clean drinking water is the single most important way to get people out of poverty.
"I have personally seen the effects of people drinking bad water. Women spend hours a day walking to go collect dirty water for their families and a lot of times girls are pulled out of school to help their mothers with that task so when the mothers can't have an income-producing job, they can't help support their families and lift them out of poverty and girls can't go to school. "
When someone purchases a cell phone case from Red Dirt, it will come in a small bag sewn by a tailor in Mali Africa. Eldridge and Taylor say they want to derail the cycle of poverty through commerce. They hope to employ more people around the world in area that don't have access to water.