Sylvie Charles


Name: Sylvie Charles
Object: A Dabba
Changemaking at: Just Date Syrup and Spice Mama

Portrait by:  Brenton Gieser

Portrait by: Brenton Gieser

Audio Transcript: As a doctor who was injured, it was such an interesting experience caring for others when it was so difficult to care for myself. And I think that's really impacted the way I live my life, the way I run my company; it's made me a stronger person. It made me feel a stronger empathy and connection with people in general.

My name is Sylvie Charles, and Iā€™m the founder of Spice Mama and Just Date Syrup.

I brought a dabba, which is an Indian tin, a steel tin, that holds all the spices an Indian family would use most frequently. It was passed down to me from my mother.  Just a simple object, a steel tin, but, something that it seems like every Indian mother passes on to her daughter.

The dabba is filled with cumin, coriander, turmeric, cardamom cloves, chili peppers, and cinnamon as well. And each had a significant component in the broth that made up so much of my healing process called charru. Charru is a broth made up of cumin and curry leaves and mustard seeds and tamarind, and this warm, powerful, Ayurvedic healing broth brought me back to life through an injury not only though its healing components but the act of making it everyday and reconnecting with my heritage and the idea of my mother taking care of me with this broth through childhood and the act of getting up everyday and going to the kitchen to make it, which during my injury and during my recovery, was a very difficult thing to do.