What brings happiness????

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As the 1st year anniversary of ‘alegria’ approaches on September 1st, 2016 I have been reflecting on the word happiness or alegria and what it means.

We are constantly in the pursuit of happiness. Happiness for ourselves, our loved ones, and our children. But happiness should be more than satisfaction; it should also be about a sense of purpose. Purpose can be defined by one’s beliefs, life style or stage in life.

For us parents our sense of purpose is defined by our children and much of our happiness comes from what makes our children happy.

Happiness is also not a constant denominator in life, but an element of life, of this journey which we know it will not always be filled with happy moments.

One thing always brought me happiness regardless of me going through a happy phase in my life is helping others. There is something about contributing to the greater good or assisting an individual or a cause that makes us feel better about ourselves, that makes us feel happier. I have a great passion for children and what they represent. I believe they are the very foundation of this world, they represent a better future, they can do better than previous generations have done, in summary they are a seed of hope.  So to me investing in any cause that assists children to become the best they can or overcome life circumstances that are difficult fills me with happiness.

The idea of alegria was very much centered on this notion of sharing and spreading out happiness. Starting from products for chidren’s everyday needs designed in a more interesting manner thus making certain experiences funnier and happier. The alegria products have been inspired by my children via toys or bedding which my mother and I have made for them, such as the crochet toys or the lavender pillow. I saw how the natural play toys made my daughter happy and helped her discover and learn.

But this notion of sharing happiness could not stop there. So I looked into cooperative artisans in developing countries as this would be a much better alternative than factory made products. Through a lot of hard work, we found independent artisans who make the alegria crochet products. Because they have flexible work hours, input into the manufacturing process, and get to choose how much is a fair price for alegria to pay for each piece produced they are happier professionals. They work with ‘alegria’, not for ‘alegria’. This collaboration based on fare trading notions was still not enough in my mind. I wanted my business to make a greater contribution to society so what better than assisting children in need. After considering how this contribution could be done I approached Save the Children Switzerland. And that is how the collaboration that ‘alegria’ has with Save the Children started, via an annual donation to a magnificent organization that has been helping children in need since 1919. This is why alegria (which means happiness) was born and the alegria circle was completed.

Life is not about happiness. Life is a journey where we seek happiness, it is fundamentally about sharing happiness and finding it anywhere we can via our loved ones, the things we do, and our sense of purpose.

So to answer the initial question of ‘What brings happiness?’ to me it would be my daughter who is the light of my life, my family, and among many other things being able to contribute via my work to children in need.

Knowing that when I give back in any way I can, no matter how small that contribution may be I help the greater good. Because in my mind when we help a child we help this world become a better place…

What brings happiness to you?

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  • Flavia Augusta de Almeida
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