Umeeda and Nareena Switlo - Co-founders Naledo
Good food and social enterprise is in our roots…
Umeeda was born in Uganda and her mother, Lella Umedaly (aka Mamajee) used to race cars, run her own Montessori, and cook a mean curry. During the 1970s our family fled Uganda and came to Canada as refugees. They all started a new chapter in their lives and Mamajee’s cooking helped keep the stories of home alive over the dinner table. Our family finally convinced Mamajee to write a cookbook called ‘Mamajee’s Kitchen’ so that new generations would know our family story and of course be able to cook a mean curry!
When Nareena, Umeeda’s daughter, was growing up in Vancouver, Canada her mom and grandmother taught her how to cook and instilled in her a strong sense of social responsibility. While she was learning how to make chicken curry they would tell stories of Uganda and ask Nareena what she was going to do to make the world a better place.
A young social entrepreneur was made!
Fast forward to 2014...
Nareena is an anthropologist and works in international development, and Umeeda is Volunteering in Belize on a CUSO International assignment.
In Belize, Umeeda’s job was to advise the government on opportunities for youth in enterprise. Belize is a beautiful country, just south of Mexico, where 70% of the population is under the age of 29 with high rates of unemployment.
On one of her trips to the Toledo district Umeeda attended an Indian diaspora conference. She met the community and heard the story of how their ancestors had come to the country as indentured servants over 200 years ago from India. As they were sharing stories, of course cooking came up and one farmer showed her the turmeric that grew wild on his land. Their ancestors had brought the golden root with them! It was the most vivid orange and the best quality Umeeda had ever seen! After months of experimenting we came up with the recipe for the world’s first wildcrafted, whole root turmeric paste – Truly Turmeric!
We decided to build a social enterprise that would support farmers to earn extra income, employ youth, improve health around the world, and produce products sustainably.
Our company’s name comes from the district in Belize where our turmeric is sourced, Toledo and Nareena’s name… Na + ledo = Naledo. Embarrassing for Nareena, proud mom bragging rights for Umeeda.
To learn more explore our website….
We want to thank our family and friends, especially Umeeda’s mother and siblings: Lella, Nzeera, Mossadiq, Muneera, and Hamed for believing in us, offering advice, and being amazing cheerleaders. We are truly grateful.
Thank you for supporting us!