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Apr 11
2013

Eternal Threads’ Founder receives Humanitarian Award

A personal note from Linda:

All of us at Eternal Threads are so thrilled by this recognition for the work that we do.  Jennifer Patterson and I attended the event in Las Vegas which was truly amazing.  It is wonderful to have the honor, but more than that we are so pleased that this is a long term relationship with MedAssets and the Borlaug family.   They couldn’t have been nicer and are sincerely interested in our work and want to support us in any way they can.  We feel that we are part of the MedAssets family now.

I have to especially thank my nephew, Larry Egle, and Carol Copeland from Omaha who nominated me for this award.  They’ve done an amazing thing for us.  Thank you to everyone for your good wishes to me for this award.  We couldn’t fulfill our mission and help the women we serve without your help and partnership!

MedAssets Recognizes Veteran U.S. Army Airborne Ranger Sean Parnell, Humanitarians Linda Egle, Jamie and Ali McMutrie for Dedicated Public Service

 ATLANTA—April 9, 2013—MedAssets (NASDAQ: MDAS) today announced the recipients of the 2012 George Herbert Walker Bush Pacesetter Award and 2012 Norman Borlaug Humanitarian Award, which were presented during the 2013 MedAssets Healthcare Business Summit, held April 2-4 in Las Vegas.

2012 Norman Borlaug Humanitarian Award Winners Linda Egle, Jamie and Ali McMutrie

“Linda, Jamie and Ali each represent the spirit of the Norman Borlaug Humanitarian Award, and we celebrate the impact that their life’s work is making for women, children and families in need,” said Bardis. “Linda is empowering women around the world with an income source to avoid exploitation. Ali and Jamie are enriching the lives of children and families in Haiti with essential social services for survival and self-sustainability,” he said. “These amazing women are making the world a better place, one person at a time.”

Linda Egle, founder of Eternal Threads

In 2000, Linda Egle of Texas founded Eternal Threads, a non-profit artisan import organization that directly provides a fair trade wage to women artisans in developing countries. Linda’s life’s work began in 1988 during a mission trip to India to help educate children. Moved by the plight of Indian women and children at risk of extreme poverty and exploitation, she started Eternal Threads. Initially, she purchased lace and totes from women artisans in India. Today, Eternal Threads purchases handmade crafts from women in 12 developing countries. After paying an upfront fair trade wage, she sells the artisan crafts in the U.S. through a market that is lacking in the women’s own countries. Eternal Threads has returned 100 percent of its profits to hundreds of women around the world. In addition, Eternal Threads supports safe houses for girls rescued from human trafficking and funds anti-trafficking border units in Nepal, where more than 12,000 girls are trafficked each year. Working with local partners, Eternal Threads helps rescue, house, counsel and educate girls so that they can live a better life. Support Eternal Threads at www.eternalthreads.org.

 ImageHere is the link to the video played at the event:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H4elfHJcgk&list=PLBLTs35ocBTldnQFOJzQC7vvv9l32W1Xz&index=3

Oct 5
2012

Threads of Hope for Afghan Women

Eternal Threads is hosting an event on Thursday, October 18th to raise money for women’s tailoring courses in Afghanistan.  This will be a unique come and go event filled with food and music from the region as well as handcrafted items made in Afghanistan that will be available for purchase.

There will be wool carpets made by the women in our carpet weaving project in a remote village, vintage galim carpets that are famous from the area of Herat where Eternal Threads projects are located, hand-embroidered pillows, hand-loomed silk scarves, hand-blown glass and handmade jewelry from a women’s project in Herat.  A special showcase of this event will be new and vintage hand embroidered Suzani wall coverings and bedcovers.  These are unique pieces (like those seen at Pottery Barn) brought back from Afghanistan by Eternal Threads founder.  All proceeds from the sale of these unique items will be used to fund women’s projects.

The tailoring courses are a lifeline for women in Afghanistan, allowing them to learn a trade that can help support themselves and their families. Each six-month course will provide 10 women with a beautiful, hand-crank sewing machine (which only costs $55 in US dollars!), her training and sewing supplies, and then a micro loan so she can start a home business.  It’s amazing how much just a little of our resources can change another woman’s life!  Most of us are aware of how bad the living conditions are in Afghanistan, especially for women.  These courses are truly a life-changing event for them.

The event will be downtown Abilene at 181 Pine St. from 7 to 9 p.m.  Eternal Threads founder, Linda Egle and Colonel Kristina O’Brien, Dyess Air Force Base will be speaking at 8 p.m.  Tickets are only $15 each.  Proceeds from just the sale of one ticket will provide sewing supplies for three months for one woman.

If you live in Abilene, call 325.672.6000 to purchase tickets or stop by the office at 101 Walnut St.  Tickets will be on sale at our next Open House on October 13th

Oct 2
2012

Afghan Tailoring Courses

ImageEternal Threads has begun tailoring courses in Afghanistan to give women the training they need to be able to have their own home businesses.  We have just completed one of these six month courses for 10 women and began a new course on September 1st.  These training courses are vital because they give women, especially widows, who cannot sell their goods in the open marketplace a way in which to create life-saving income for their families.

Our partner in Aghanistan oversees this project and a trained tailoring teacher is paid a monthly salary to work with the women on a daily basis.  The hand crank sewing machines that they use during the course will be gifted to them on the completion of the course along with a $120 small business loan.  This loan will to help them get started in their home business, providing money for start-up supplies and a sign for the outside of their home to advertise to their neighbors that they are in business.

Our Afghan partner describes the benefits of this project ~

“The tailoring course we have is really helping the women.  They are so happy coming to learn how to make clothes.  Even people from other parts of the city came to me and asked if we can have the same training in their area.  The women are so hopeful for the skill they are learning, they always talk to me about the future.  The women told me that when they are complete with the course that they will be a real tailor in the place where they live and they will be able to make money from this.  In this way they will feed their family members and help the man of the family financially.  In this case, they will not be under pressure from their husbands as they have been before because they are now also making money.”

If you are tempted to think that learning to sew is only an outdated hobby and can’t be that beneficial to women in the modern age, I’d like to recommend an incredible book ~ “The Dressmaker of Khair Khana.”  This wonderful book tells the story of five sisters who survived the Taliban years on their own by having a tailoring business in their home. They not only employed themselves, but many young women in their neighborhood who had no way to survive otherwise.  This book is a testament to the perseverance and will that Afghan women have to survive and enrich the lives of their families.  They still desperately need these skills.  Watch this wonderful video of the women at the training center in Afghanistan ~ Afghan tailoring course

Oct 2
2012

Afghanistan Jewelry Project

Eternal Threads projects in Afghanistan include carpet-weaving in a remote village, tailoring courses for women and education for village children.  However, our involvement in Afghanistan originated in a partnership with Onemaker, an organization founded by a good friend, Jana Harp Dean.  Jana lived in Afghanistan for a year and half organizing a jewelry making project to give desperate women an opportunity for income to help their families.  Their first product was the beautiful King’s Garden bracelet which continues to be one of our most popular items.  Thousands of tiny glass beads are lovingly stitched together to make this exquisite bracelet representing King Zahir Shah’s beautiful gardens.  The artisans commemorate the late King whose reign was known for peace, educational opportunities for women and democratic reforms.

Onemaker’s project was turned over to the women when Jana left Afghanistan and the project is now being managed by a new Afghan partner.  The women are presently making the beautiful Pearls of Perseverance bracelets in several colors and the Mother’s Love garnet bracelet.

The income received from the making of these bracelets is vital to these women and their families.  Just wearing one of their bracelets is a symbol of the global community of women that Eternal Threads strives to create.  A community that can support those most in need of our help!!

Aug 24
2012

A journey worth making!!

An Eternal Threads team made a trip to Nepal in June of this year.  We traveled a lot of miles to visit our partner, but our journey seems insignificant to the one that rescued girls must take to restore the life that was almost taken from them.  Here is the story of their Journey of HOPE ~

Border Girls

It begins here…young women in purple uniforms in the blazing sun for 12 hours a day with only a handkerchief to block the heat at a far western border crossing in Nepal.  They stand at the entrance to the “buffer” zone and claim the lives of young girls who will be lost to the brothels of India if the traffickers can get them successfully into that zone.

They never divert their attention from the task even when we are interviewing them.  More girls are taken through this crossing than any other in Nepal, and they are not willing to let even one slip through their grasp.  They are tenacious and equally courageous.  They know their only hope of saving these young women is convincing them of what danger awaits on the other side.

Eternal Threads and the Red Thread Movement funds two of the border units that our partner in Nepal has established to stop the trafficking of young Nepalese girls (more than 12,000 girls a year are trafficked to Indian brothels).  At this station as many as 300-350 girls are stopped each month to interview they and their companions as to why they are going to India.  Out of these as many as 35 are saved from the fate that awaited them and either returned to their homes or taken to safe houses for a period of restoration that may last six months to a year.  Eternal Threads also supports one of these safe houses. (November 2011)

We have visited three safe houses on this journey and the experience is both numbing and exhilarating.  To think of what they have gone through and the healing that must take place is a task we cannot imagine, but with the help of loving house mothers, spiritual counselors and each other they are meeting the challenge head on determined to leave their past behind them and begin a new journey.  It takes time, a safe place and HOPE for that new life…something tangible to build on. (read Gita’s story in our April 2012 blog)

Vocational training in tailoring and cosmetology provide the hope that they will be able to stand on their own, provide for themselves and never again have to depend on someone who might betray them.  By the time they leave the safe house they have the skills to establish their own businesses and return to their villages as professionals and leaders.

A sewing machine for a new business.

On this journey the team visited a young woman who returned to her mountain village 3 years ago.  She has since started agricultural projects to employ young women as well as a tailoring training school.  Some of the young women in her sewing classes walk a day and a half to be able to take advantage of an opportunity that will likely save them from the deception of the traffickers for “job opportunities” in India.  Eternal Threads has sent funding for the sewing machines to put five of these young women in business in their home village where they will not only have a business but will train others.

Linda Egle and ET Staff member, Jennifer Patterson, at a sewing center.

Young women also receive training in sewing centers in cities along the border where girls are vulnerable to traffickers.  One such center has trained 300 girls…40 of them have started their own businesses.

Purchasing a sewing machine or a sewing certificate for a young woman in Nepal gives the gift of Hope!!

You can also purchase beautiful products made by the girls in the safe house giving them income to start their new life when they leave.

Be sure and watch this short video produced for Eternal Threads by one of our team members, Matt Pinson.

Also check out, Erik Tryggestad’s article and blogs for the Christian Chronicle.

Jul 10
2012

Family Challenges

To begin our Out of the Darkness countdown (more information on our Facebook page) of some of the factors that contribute to sex trafficking, we start with “family challenges” which affect many of the girls and women we serve. As a reminder, all of this information is from an internal study done this year with partners of Eternal Threads.

Family challenges include broken families or families with a dysfunctional background including families with widowed or single mothers or polygamous backgrounds. It also includes families where one or both parents are working away from home in order to provide for their children, and families in which there are too many children for the mother or parents to care for adequately. As you can imagination, whether with good or poor intentions or even neglect, these situations put children at great risk for being trafficked. They need more support and protection.

These family issues are present in numerous countries, but were specifically reported in Nepal, Ghana, Mongolia, and Nigeria. In these countries and every country, Eternal Threads helps by partnering with those who work to stand in the gap of family challenges. By providing jobs and often emotional support for girls and women, we strive to give them the resources they need to be successful in making their own living and taking care of themselves and their families.

Check in tomorrow to see how you can make a specific difference in the issue of Family Challenges.

A Story of Restoration

There are stories of rescue and restoration that need to be told. This is one of those stories that is similar to the stories of so many that are deceived and exploited by traffickers ~

She is eighteen years old and over the past several months has been training to be a beautician in a vocational training program along with others who are receiving tailoring training. With extreme talent, she has been chosen to work in a micro-enterprise salon business, through which she will be able to earn enough money to support herself in her new community.

Just one year ago, her story looked much different. Living in poverty with her father and stepmother, she was asked to be married to a man from a higher social caste. Her parents quickly agreed. However, the man which posed as a potential groom was actually a trafficker working for a trafficking ring in India. She realized through an overheard conversation that he had no intention of marrying her, but in fact was taking her over the border to a brothel.

On the day that they attempted to cross the border, dedicated anti-trafficking agents stopped the couple and separated the two for questioning. Broken and scared, she asked to be rescued, as she knew where he was taking her and she did not want to go. The trafficker was taken into custody and she was taken to a safe house for restoration and healing with other girls that had similar stories. Although the organization that rescued her reached out to her parents, they were unwilling for her to return home. The rejection and betrayal that she felt was heavy, and even in the midst of a loving and caring environment, it took a long time for her to heal.

Today, she is an excellent beautician and is thriving in her new community. She is ready to get started in her own business and continue to train other girls as well as give back to the program that made such a difference in her own life. In talking about her rescue and restoration, she says, “I have never been loved by anyone in my entire life like I have been here in this place.”

Feb 7
2012

Gifts of Light and Love!

Afghan blown glass

A special gift of light for women in Afghanistan!

After a month hiatus from the holidays, February always brings to mind the gifts that we might like to give those we love…our sweethearts, wives, husbands and girlfriends.  Even in countries where marriages are arranged and the celebration of Valentine’s Day is frowned upon there is still the fascination and desire to do something that expresses our “love”.  The heart is the universal symbol for that expression displayed on cards, chocolate boxes, balloons and a hundred other ways. It’s an appropriate symbol because it is our heart that prompts us to love those we know and those we do not know.

I’ll never forget getting the email from our partner in Afghanistan on a Sunday morning asking if I would pay to send a woman “barber” to the village once a month so that she could cut the women’s hair…something that they had never had done for them before.  My response was “absolutely”!!  What a gift to them.  He told me in that email that the women artisans we work with do not know what a “gift” is…they have no understanding of the concept.  They have never been given a gift of any kind by their husbands, brothers or sons.  It is completely foreign to them.  One of the women later told him that when the woman barber comes to the village “it is one of her good days in her life.”  Wow, I just had my hair cut Friday afternoon and it was more of an annoying errand I had to do!!

We’ve been thinking at Eternal Threads how we can bless these women with the gifts that we give for Valentine’s Day.  

I’ll be going to Afghanistan again in March and I’ve made the decision that I will go to the village to visit the women.  I’ll probably try and think of something I can take to them as a small token gift, but everything seems trivial compared to their needs.  

What they need is light in the darkness. The women need hope that they can survive in a world where they cannot work outside the home.  They can have that hope through skills that we can give them.  This month we hope to start two tailoring projects in and around the city of Herat where we work.  The hand crank sewing machines have been donated, but we need to provide the trainers and supplies for these six month training programs.

How special would your Valentine gift be if it helped to give these women the gift of hope they really need? The beautiful handblown dishes you see in the photo above are famous from the city of Herat. We are offering them as a special purchase for $10…ALL proceeds will go to the tailoring projects. Each dish will come in it’s own gift box with tea lights and a special message to the person receiving this as a gift.

You can purchase online or call the Eternal Threads office…888-487-4549. Supplies are limited!

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.