Resolution Fellow Feature: Getting to Know Despina Souroviki

A Resolution Fellow, One Young World Ambassador, and Founder of Knit2Lead.

 

This month, The Resolution Project will host its third Social Venture Challenge at The One Young World Summit in Bogotá, Colombia. We’re introducing six young leaders who became Resolution Fellows after winning the Resolution Social Venture Challenge at The One Young World Summit and are now implementing impactful ventures in their home communities.

Please introduce yourself.

Hey, there! My name is Debbie Souroviki and I am a 21 year old law student from Greece. I’ve been a Resolution Fellow since the One Young World Social Venture Challenge in Ottawa in 2016.

What is the challenge your venture seeks to address?

In 2016, I founded a social enterprise called Knit2Lead. Knit2Lead aims to use fashion as a medium to empower socially exploited women in Greece.

A sewing workshop

How is your venture addressing those challenges?

In 2015, after a visit with my university to the female prison in Thessaloniki, I realized that female prisoners did not have the same chance to readjust into society as male prisoners did. When I thought about it, it wasn’t only female prisoners; it was drug addicts, alcoholics, girls with diet disorders, and more. I began thinking about ways to bring these women together, which was when I decided that fashion was the perfect opportunity. So, we chose to use fashion as a medium to empower these women, and show them how they could become a vital part of society once again.

A leadership seminar

What have you achieved so far?

The truth is, in the beginning, we were afraid. We didn’t know if Knit2Lead would work. But then we thought, “if your dreams aren’t big enough to scare you, you’re doing something wrong.” So, we started Knit2Lead in 2016. Right now, we are working with more than 120 women, and we have done more than 30 sewing workshops, and three leadership seminars to help women build their skill-set and increase their employability.

You may ask: how are we teaching female empowerment through fashion? It’s very simple. We’re teaching women to sew their own clothes using fabrics like linen, sheets, table cloth, whatever you have in your closet.

There are three reasons why we do this: Firstly, because there are zero costs associated with these fabrics. The women are spending no money to buy their materials. Secondly, they are reclaiming things that they already have in their wardrobes. They were occupying useless space. And finally, if you ask 100 women if they could imagine themselves going out tonight wearing a dress made by a bedsheet, 98 of them would answer no. So, we are proving them wrong.

What does One Young World mean to you?

After founding Knit2Lead, I had the honor of being granted a scholarship to One Young World in Ottawa in 2016. This literally changed my life. Meeting a lot of inspirational people and hearing their firsthand stories really changed my way of thinking and gave me more motivation to do something meaningful with my life. Nowadays, the world is definitely facing a lot of challenges. I strongly believe that it’s in young people’s hands to face these challenges and build a safer tomorrow. If not us, then who? If not now, then when?

I believe that it is vital for young leaders to contribute to solving the world’s greatest problems. One Young World is the biggest proof that it works.

Debbie pitching her idea to the judges at One Young World’s Resolution Social Venture Challenge, 2016

What does The Resolution Project mean to you?

The Resolution Project supports me a lot in building my venture. Despite the financial help, which is absolutely critical in building the venture, the mentoring that I’ve received has helped me understand the inner workings of social entrepreneurship. It’s taught me a lot of things about financial sustainability, marketing, and e-commerce. I believe I wouldn’t have made it this far if I didn’t have The Resolution Project’s support and help.

What role do young leaders play in the world?

It is inspiring to see so many young leaders, from Cape Verde to the UK, from Mongolia to Colombia, dealing with every kind of problem and creating change. For this reason, I believe that more and more young people should focus on having a social impact because our community and our society needs this. As Confucius used to say: “the journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step.” We have to be the change that we want to see in society. This change starts in our own communities.

What are your goals for the future?

In September, we will be taking a big step by launching our e-commerce platform. Women in Greece will be able to create their own online profile, share their story, and sell a product that they have made, either in our workshops, or in their house individually. In this way, program participants will be able to earn some money, feel independent, and gain self-esteem and confidence. We will be looking to expand our platform into other regions in the near future, and eventually, all around the world.

How is The Resolution Project helping you achieve your goals?

As I mentioned before, I don’t know if I could have made it this far without Resolution’s support. I had the idea, and I had the motivation and the passion, but I was lacking certain knowledge. Resolution has been there to provide me with this knowledge. I believe that their contribution is vital in helping us achieve our goals. Thank you The Resolution Project.


To learn more about the Social Venture Challenge at One Young World, click here.

To learn about other opportunities with The Resolution Project, click here.

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