One of the coolest gifts I've ever received arrived recently with a beautiful, hand-made Easter greeting. In the package were two small, special presents -- one for me and one for Alicia.
They're soft bracelets, woven from rich-red thread. Just like the old method of using a string around a finger to remind of us something important, these bracelets do the same thing and much, much more!
When worn or displayed, these bracelets snag the interest of others, silently encouraging them to investigate.
"Look at me! Ask what I'm about! Why am I so simple, yet special enough to be worn? I have a story! Please ask about it and learn why you're seeing me!"
Now that you'll be in the know about the Red Thread and the Eternal Threads Movement, perhaps it can be you who will be the one wearing a red bracelet that will silently urge others to inquire about what it represents.
I don't wear mine on my wrist. I have my hands in water a lot and don't want to ruin it. Instead, I've tied it to my backpack strapping, and my backpack goes with me everywhere. Nee wears hers on her wrist frequently.
These special bracelets are a symbol of the Red Thread Movement. I hope that in sharing this, I'll ignite a passion for you to get involved and help fan the fire to purchase some beautiful and inexpensive gifts that are making fantastic differences in the lives of women in some of the poorest places in the world.
Small gifts making big differences!
The Eternal Thread story, in micro-version.
Once upon a time, a Sofi-tote project was started in a small village in southern India. It provided employment for women in the village who wanted to work, but due to caring for their families, could only find employment a couple of times a year, when harvesters were needed in the rice fields.
What began as a small operation to provide part-time employment to just 20 women grew to employing 250 women on a full-time basis. Isn't that wonderful? These women not only got to work, as opposed to being left begging, and they got to work at something they're experts at and love to do!
With the profits generated from simple, yet beautifully crafted tote bags, dozens of girls from villages in the area were able to receive an education. That's not to say these artisans and their families aren't educated in their own methods for survival. It's to say they were gaining education in things many of us in the rest of the world learned at an early age and take for granted, like reading, writing, mathematics, basic sciences, etcetera.
In 2008, four new projects were brought to life in Nepal, Thailand, Madagascar and Afghanistan. By 2013, products from 13 countries were made available on the Eternal Threads website.
What started as a mission to help one group of women in an Indian village has become a successful, global effort in bringing the beautiful and unique work of these artisans to the rest of the world.
When you invest in these products you've helped feed a family. You've helped a little girl learn how to read and write. You've ensured a village has a school, and that the children don't have to attend class hungry, and are wearing enough clothes to keep them warm.
Be it a basket, an apron, a scarf, a table-cloth or even a Kindle-cover, the prices for the products these women make are very affordable.
Isn't it amazing how much a bit of special red thread has to say?
Here are some pics I gathered to give you a visual of the organization, depicting some of the goods being produced and the folks whose lives are being affected in wonderful ways via the work of these women.
The Red Thread Movement - Weaving Hope and Justice ...
Linda Egle saw a need ...
Linda Egle, was a United Airlines flight attendant who visited southern India back in 1988.
There, she got an up close and personal view of the struggle to survive and raise a family in poverty, that the local women faced every day.
Though their lives were difficult and they lived on the edge of impossible, Linda also witnessed hope, and a desire and initiative to earn a better living if given the chance.
Linda retired early in 2000 and founded Eternal Threads to ensure the women she'd met in India got their chance to make a better life for themselves, their families and communities.
It worked. It's still working. It has not only grown, but thrived, every year since then.
Before purchasing your next gift from a major manufacturer ...
Here's yet another set of independent artisans for you to consider purchasing from when contemplating your next gift, be it for yourself or someone else.
Gifts from artisans like these become more than a beautiful accent for a home, or a toy, or an article of clothing that will be enjoyed while worn on occasion. They become a treasure because of their origins. They become a valued reminder of the people who worked to make them.
My thanks to author and educator, Maria Jordan of marcoujor's musings, for such a thoughtful and beautiful gift. I'm pretty sure she had a good idea what would come of this one, and has effectively pushed the right buttons to get me excited to help spread the word about the worthy and wonderful endeavors of the Red Thread message.
I sincerely love the gift and the many people it represents. I also hope that my little article here will reach loads of others who will decide that they too need to have a Red Thread bracelet, so please spread it far and wide. The more who know, the bigger difference it will make.
The bracelets are just one of the myriad of beautiful items these women make. I encourage you to please visit their website and have a look around. Seriously, they have some fantastic stuff there that would fit anyone's taste and their products are very affordable. After browsing their site myself, I'm POSITIVE you'll find their work as enchanting as I do, and they have items that will make the perfect gift for a man, woman, boy or girl for any special occasion, or even just because.
If you'll take the time to get familiar with these artisans and the communities they live in, I promise, you'll be the richer for your efforts.
That's it for this one ...
God bless you! Thanks for the visit and please don't forget to thank a veteran at your next opportunity!
See ya Thursday at femme's Desk!
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