Women and Girls

Nov 15
2011

“Safe” Home and Sewing Center

From the Founder. Nepal

I guess learning to sew in 4-H when I was 9 years old is paying off even though I haven’t had time to use my own sewing machine for years. I recently spent 2 days in Kathmandu, Nepal sourcing fabric, product ideas and materials for the sewing center we want to establish at one of the safe houses for rescued girls. Somewhat laborious, time-consuming and often frustrating, but necessary to our process. Now it’s all coming together as we begin to set up the sewing center at the safe house.

In our world, a “safe” home constitutes one free of any and all potential dangers from accidents or mishaps. We attempt to cover all the bases…covers on electrical outlets, cleaning supplies in locked cabinets, non-slip rugs and floors, alarm systems and more. Most homes in the rest of the world don’t have the luxury of such safeguards, so I had to pause and think about what “SAFE” means to this house. For the rescued girls who live here it is above all else a place to be safe from the deceit of those that would do them harm and also a place to be rescued, restored and redeemed. A place to find new confidence in themselves and build a new life!

This safe house is just such a place. It is filled with light and fresh air with lots of room. The girls have their own garden so that the home never has to buy vegetables and everything they eat is organic.

Picking vegetables

They share all the responsibilities of cleaning, cooking and maintaining the garden. I hear them singing and chattering happily together as they do their work and also learn new skills of sewing, knitting and crocheting on which to build that new life, not only as a means of income, but as a way to regain their sense of value and worth. Saturday morning I was able to witness the fruit of this safe house when I attended a fellowship with the girls. One of those rescued was the leader for that day. She led the fellowship with poise and stature, a strong, confident voice and a great depth of understanding for one so young. It was a clear testament to the growth that comes from this safe place.

THE RIGHT TEAM

Nirmal RajBusantiThe greatest need we had for establishing a really successful sewing center was finding the right team. We were blessed to find just that team in Nirmal Raj (left) who will be doing the advanced tailoring training for a year and Busanti who will be the sewing center manager. Both have the skills we need and with their combined efforts we are well on our way.

DEVELOPING SKILLS
Helping Each Other
Gaining skills that will help you have income is crucial for these girls, but it also gives them the confidence to build that new life because they have something to value in themselves. It is wonderful to watch them working together and sometimes teaching each other how to master a new skill. They have some good basic skills and with Nirmal and Busanti’s help they will be able to advance their training.

DEVELOPING PRODUCTS
Teaching the girls to be creative and entrepreneurial is part of our goal so making a small jewelry pouch out of scraps of fabric is more than just coming up with a new product. Busanti got right to work showing the girls how to make them and pretty soon they were going through all the scraps of fabric that had been discarded to see if they could find pieces big enough to make a jewelry pouch. Picking up the pieces of your life and making it into something useful is a powerful image.

I was pleased to see that the girls were already working on a new product of their own…a crocheted hat. Their design was good, but they needed a little help with color combinations so we went to the yarn shop and did a little designing together. We’ll hopefully have them in the warehouse before Christmas.

Jun 10
2011

A new partner!

DolmaIn our recent travels to Nepal, we were blessed in meeting a wonderful Tibetan refugee woman named Dolma Pasang. Sitting under a shade tree making lovely jewelry is where we found Dolma on our first day in Pokhara. She remembered our founder who had talked with her on a previous trip and our friendly conversation easily found it’s way to business. We asked her to make some of her extraordinarily beautiful jewelry for a special sale event at Eternal Threads and she enthusiastically agreed because she needed the money for her children’s school fees. We were so pleased with the uniqueness and quality of her work that we ordered more than we actually thought she could produce in such a short time. We worried about it, but found there was no need for worry.

It was then that we realized we might have a new partner and jewelry project because Dolma, just by being who she is, showed us that she is the embodiment of the Eternal Threads mission. She enlisted needy women in her refugee community to help so that they too would benefit, she helped us source product with honesty and commitment to help us with our goals for Eternal Threads and then she did something really amazing…

We had given her our brochure and business cards so she had a friend help her look up the Eternal Threads website on the computer. The day before we left she came to deliver the last of the jewelry that she and the other ladies had made and told us about seeing the website. She was so happy to see the work of Eternal Threads and in her words, “how hard you are working to help so many women.” She brought a bag full of beads that she uses to make her own jewelry to sell, but she wanted to donate them to Eternal Threads saying that she wants to be part of helping carry on our work.

Dolma is the kind of partner that Eternal Threads has been blessed with in all of our projects. We are hoping that her jewelry is a big success (it will be on the website as soon as we can) so that we can start a project with her and the women who need the help in her community.

Watch our YouTube video of Dolma making a piece of jewelry.

Apr 14
2011

News from Mongolia

Here are the stories of how 3 womens’ lives were significantly changed through working at The Stream in Mongolia.


Batsegeg:

“I have been working here for almost 11 months. I have not become rich but I have learned many things. I really like this work, it is very interesting. If I worked at a restaurant, it would only be a job. But here, I really appreciate the people I work with. Now I have good relationships. In the mornings, we share with each other.  Since working at Streams, my heart has changed. I have peace. I have become active in a church. All of my children and family except a brother and my mother have become believers. This is a very pleasant place.”

Onoroo:

“My character has changed so much since my old life. I used to be very loud and aggressive with a hard heart and character. Even my voice used to be like a man. It has been almost 3 years since I first came to Streams. I have been working with jewelry for a year and 5 months. At first I got no money but I enjoyed being here. I can now make things with my hands. I am so thankful to be here. My life has changed. I really have peace and satisfaction in this work. When I am here, I am fed spiritually. We study God’s word. Now my son and I are both Christian and we pray and talk about the Bible together.”

Tume:

“My heart has changed. I am happy now. I am so glad. I am now with nice people and have healthy relationships. We can share with each other and counsel each other. I have done many wrong things, but I have received forgiveness. I want to learn and grow. I want to learn this job and work here. I don’t go out on the streets any more and I don’t want to. This organization has done so much for me. They have given me whatever I needed. They are loving me. Their love is changing me. I like to make jewelry. Every woman likes jewelry. It is nice work. When I work here, my heart is at peace. I am so glad, I’m so glad to be here. I am always happy.”


Children’s Day

Over 15 women gathered with their children to celebrate Children’s Day in Mongolia. Here is the testimony of their experience:

“One month ago was Children’s Day here in Mongolia. We had about 15 Ladies and their kids come to the café that we rented for a day of celebration and fun. It was a fun time of relationship building and sharing. Pray as we continue the long process of building trusting relationships with the Ladies. We now have 4-5 ladies coming every day for devotions, jewelry training and a weekly Celebrate Recovery meeting. All of these women have left their former way of life and now come regularly to our church. They are growing but also have their struggles, so please pray for us and them as we serve them and guide them in the ways of the Lord. The jewelry business is just starting to get going to the point that we can pay some of the women. Please pray that it will grow so that we can pay two or three women a living wage every month.”

Shop for Mongolian jewelry at Eternal Threads, here.

Apr 7
2011

Meet the Border Girls

Name: protected for security reasons
Home Country: Nepal
Mission: Staffing the anti-trafficking border units that Eternal Threads’ partner manages. Eternal Threads sponsors two of these units as well as the Safe House where many rescued girls live.
Goal: Prevent as many girls as possible from being taken across the Nepal/India border into Indian brothels and a life of sexual slavery. 12,000 – 15,000 girls a year are trafficked across this open border.

These amazing young women pictured here with Brittany Partridge, the founder of the Red Thread Movement possess courage and commitment beyond their years. Sadly we have had to blur their beautiful faces in order to protect them. Eternal Threads recently met with them and our Nepalese partner in Bombay so that we could all be witness to what happens to Nepalese girls that are trafficked into brothels in cities like Bombay. There was quite a contrast between this photo shoot at India’s Gate in Bombay and the time we spent in a brothel area where there are as many as 15,000 – 20,000 young Nepalese women who have been trafficked. Our partner began monitoring these border crossings four years ago and is constantly endeavoring to find even better ways to not only prevent the girls from being trafficked, but raise awareness in vulnerable communities and set up income generating projects to protect girls from being enticed to take jobs that don’t exist.

The girls were profoundly affected by what they saw in the brothel…the abuse and inhumane conditions. In their own words:

“I’m free, I’m not in captivity. They are the same as me…one in freedom and one in captivity.”

“I saw myself and my sisters in that position and I felt pain in my heart. What if we were there?”

“I felt very sad in my heart. I don’t know what to say to them.”

CNN iReport:
CNN launched it’s Freedom Project just before Eternal Threads went to Bombay. Our founder took this video of Brittany Partridge in the brothel area and uploaded it from there to CNN. Please watch and spread the word. The Red Thread Movement will be able to be part of this continuing challenge on CNN.

Buy red thread bracelets made by rescued girls, here.
Spread the word to Youth Groups or anyone who might help sell the bracelets.
Follow Brittany’s blog while she in the safe house in Nepal, here.