My name is Mariel Mussack and I am a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am double majoring in Comparative Literature and Global Studies, with a focus on Latin American politics.
I am originally from Cary, North Carolina, but moved to Guatemala City as a child because of my father’s work. Being raised in Guatemala really affected my outlook on life, and from an early age I witnessed of the harsh realities of poverty and the brutal struggle for human rights. Throughout my time in Guatemala, my parents always encouraged me to work to fight these issues, through community service and volunteering opportunities. Because of this, when I came to college in Chapel Hill, I felt the need to get involved here in the US as well, and took on some extracurricular activities such as teaching ESL and providing “Know Your Rights” trainings to recent immigrants to the US.
However, I found myself wanting to return to Guatemala as often as possible, and it is my dream to someday return and be able to make a substantial contribution to the country’s development in any way that I can. This past summer, I interned in a Guatemalan mattress firm, as assistant to the head of the company’s corporate responsibility department. I was able to provide personalized solutions to the workers’ problems, and had the opportunity to work directly with workers and their families to improve their families and communities. This position really opened my eyes to the issues workers face every day, especially in developing countries.
Fueled with a new found passion for worker’s rights, I was incredibly excited when I heard about Alta Gracia, and the opportunity for me to intern from my own campus. This internship has really made me much more aware about the struggle to secure rights for workers worldwide, as well as increased my social conscience about any purchase that I make. It has been a wonderful experience so far, and the semester is far from over. I hope my contributions to Alta Gracia are significant, and even after this semester I know that will continue to promote and recommend the company to my friends and peers, as I really believe in the cause we are working towards. Socially responsible shopping is a wonderful way through which anyone can make a contribution to the world, and I really hope that someday, products like the ones offered by Alta Gracia are the only ones available.
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