I believe in peace. I believe in leaving a better footprint on this earth than I found. I am very blessed to have friends who have bravely created new ways to build peace. They have changed my life forever. I would follow them anywhere. In fact I do. The 7 Virtues is fully a journey I set out upon because of my friends. These friends of mine get so LOUD with their love you just have to jump on board their path to peace. The friend and mentor who set me on this path is a retired Army Captain, Canadian hero and Journalist, Trevor Greene. The other friend is Abdullah Arsala, an Afghan Essential Oil Supplier & Perfume Creator whose family is one of the most respected in all of Afghanistan for their vision of peace and leadership. Together we are taking action and we welcome you to join us!
When we create jobs for fathers, mothers, farmers, citizens of Afghanistan or any great country rebuilding after war or strife, their children then have access to books and school uniforms and shoes. Oppressors are less likely to be able to interfere and take these well looked after children. But when a parent loses his or her job in the market, the oppressors have the power to ask anything of that family that is so desperately now living in extreme poverty.
Purchasing the glorious Afghanistan orange blossom (neroli) and rose oil from Abdullah ensures his farmers earn twice the income over the illegal poppy crop! The illegal poppy goes against Islamic law. The farmers do not want to grow this illicit drug crop that is destroying lives in our cities here in North America. There is great dignity in honouring the faith of the good citizens of Afghanistan. And hopefully we can one day end the spread of illegal heroin that is destroying lives and families from Afghanistan to the cities we live in here in North America. The path to peace is one of faith, dignity, economic empowerment, security and friendship. It’s time we stop monetizing war and start monetizing peace.
My best friend Captain Greene went to Afghanistan because he could not bear to sit by and watch the images in the news of Afghan children being harmed. Trevor is a brilliant journalist and author with best selling books he has written. He wrote the book on the missing women of the East Side of Vancouver long before anyone had heard of the situation where women were disappearing. He wrote the book on the homeless of Japan and lived with them in the streets. He was never one to sit back and watch. He gets involved and becomes a part of the solution. After a brutal axe attack to his head while bravely serving in Afghanistan, he defied the odds. He not only survived, but went on to write a best selling book on the journey of healing and love with his wife Debbie called “March Forth”. And because he cares so deeply about the environment he wrote a book called, “There’s No Planet B” with my husband Mike Velemirovich.
Trevor encouraged me to study journalism when we were young. I wanted to join the military with him when he filled out his application at my kitchen table. But I could not because of a hereditary hearing impairment. Trevor told me to change the world with the power of the pen. While Trevor was healing in the hospital, I promised him I would take on his mission of peace while he healed. I realized I did not have a way. I am not a brave soldier, I am not a world leader and as a woman, I did not have a way to touch peace. So I created a new way. Realizing women own the buying power and the voting power, I thought if I could empower women to harness that power we could end the cycle of war and poverty. The book is called, “The 7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen – a woman’s guide to living & leading in an illogical world”. It took two years to write. And on the back of the book, I always saw a perfume bottle and I didn’t know why. Call it gut or intuition. Then one day, while researching Afghanistan I read this interview in NPR by this great man, Abdullah Arsala and he was growing the legal orange blossom and rose to get the farmers off the illegal poppy crop. And the same people that attacked my best friend were knocking over his distillery and I thought that’s it, that’s the vision of the perfume bottle. I just had to do something. I flew to Ottawa a week later and met with CIDA and asked them to help me find Abdullah. We connected and we just began making perfume and distributing it out of my garage. Thanks to my investor, W. Brett Wilson who I met on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, now our collection is around the world and a top seller at the Canadian Hudson’s Bay department stores across Canada. Social enterprise is the way to peace, it’s the way to monetize peace instead of war.
That perfume bottle has changed the lives of farmers and their families in Afghanistan. The traders can not force farmers to grow the illegal poppy with Abdullah there to provide legal income from rose and orange blossom oil. The poppy traders force the farmers of the poppy crop to hand over their daughters, they are called opium brides. But when a farmer works with legal crops, his daughter can not be taken from him. That perfume bottle has changed the lives of farmers and their children in Afghanistan, Haiti, The Middle East, Rwanda and soon in India (where the worlds’ largest group of poor citizens live).
To learn more about our story and the path to peace, watch the documentary trailer on our story by award winning film director, Michael Melski. Perfume War is being released in 2016.
Watch the trailer at PerfumeWar.com