By Alheri Egor-Egbe ’17
In 1972, Amber Chand and her family fled their home in Uganda during the forceful eviction of people of Indian origin by Idi Amin’s tyrannical regime.
Chand, who was 21 at the time, in many ways was shaped by those traumatic events. Now she travels the world championing the rights of women and children in challenging economic and political circumstances.
She will speak about those experiences at Mount Holyoke College during a 6:30 pm lecture, titled “Searching for the Moon: A Heroine’s Journey” on Friday, September 18, in the Chapin Auditorium of Mary Woolley Hall. The talk is part of the Weissman Center for Leadership’s “Courage Through Reflection and Story Creation” series.
A social entrepreneur and visionary leader, Chand is the founder of the Women’s Peace Collection, an organization founded on the principles of fair trade, compassionate commerce, and a commitment to empower women through sustainable enterprise. The Women’s Peace Collection supports women artisans in vulnerable conditions around the world—from Darfur to Baghdad—by selling handmade items to international markets.
“The refugee woman in me has sought to find her healing by working with women who are rebuilding their lives in the shadow of war, genocide, and civil strife. Wherever there is darkness on the planet, that is where I seek to go,” Chand said during a TEDx talk.
Becky Wai-Ling Packard, director at the Weissman Center, noted that Chand exemplifies the spirit of the center’s series.
“Amber Chand has an important story to tell, and has been very intentional about that. Her story is human and deep,” Packard said. “She is a unique individual, but her story, we think, will reach many because it is so multifaceted, so honest. She is a well-traveled woman who demonstrates her courage by looking inward and sharing with others her accomplishments, challenges, and mistakes.”
Chand also is a cofounder of Prosperity Candles, a social enterprise that seeks market-based solutions at the intersection of business and philanthropy by valuing purpose over profits and striving to end poverty in the world. Through Prosperity Candles, Chand envisions a world where all women have the opportunity to not only survive, but also truly thrive.
Packard said the theme of courage for this year’s series was inspired by the students of Mount Holyoke, and by the center’s desire to encourage people to share their personal stories courageously, as a source of healing and inspiration.
“Mount Holyoke students always show up with their whole selves,” Packard said. “At the Weissman Center, we feel courage is an important component of leadership that can be cultivated. It is much more than demonstrating a heroic act. Looking inward at one's own story, and having the courage to share, is a less-discussed aspect of courage.”
Chand’s talk is free and open to the public. Chapin Auditorium is wheelchair accessible, and listening devices are provided upon request.