In a previous post, I shared a blog I enjoy following called While She Naps by Abby Glassenburg. In the summer of 2014, Abby interviewed 21 women in a series called The Pattern That Changed My Life and each woman describes how her creative trajectory was changed because of a particular pattern, book or workshop, ultimately causing them to head in a new direction and how it helped form their career.
One woman in particular talks about her love for teaching others how to sew and the journey she took to finally get to that point of realization. In one part of her interview she says, “Looking back, it amazes me what a big impact such tiny discouragements had. Fortunately, the same can be said of words of encouragement…”
It’s such a simple thing, but how often do we really stop to think about the direct impact our words and actions (whether done in public or private) have to either tear someone down or build them up? Everyday we’re given the opportunity to make a choice: choose to use our words and actions to discourage, deflate and defeat others or choose to use our words and actions to breathe life, hope, and encouragement to those around us.
I want to share with you two life-giving, life-changing opportunities to provide encouragement to someone internationally and an organization locally.
The first person I want to introduce you to is someone my friend met while in Rwanda this past summer. Her name is Colette. Below is an excerpt from my friend, Heather, talk of her opportunity to meet Colette:
“Colette is a Congolese woman who lives in a refugee camp in Rwanda. A friend, who gave me one of her hand-woven carpets, introduced me to her. When I learned that she took time to weave it by hand to earn a living for her and her 3 children and the vulnerability of being a woman trying to survive in a refugee camp, I had great compassion for her and wanted to somehow support her. I ordered several carpets from her to give as gifts to others. She wanted to meet me and personally deliver the carpets when I was in Rwanda this past July.
“I had no idea the impact buying these carpets had. She talked about how it gave her hope and was life changing for her. Making the carpets provides for the needs of her children and also gives her a sense of purpose. She has a vision to build a business with her handmade items, along with other local craftsmen in Rwanda. In order to do this, she needs investors to provide a small amount of seed money to get started. I’ve offered to facilitate this and help her create a business plan. (Towards the end of this post you will find a basic business plan that includes her goals and vision for the business and the small amount of money she needs to get started. In it she describes the process of making one of her carpets, which can take anywhere from 13-15 hours.) She has a goal to reimburse her investors.
“Finally, I have also attached her testimony. It is a powerful story that she has freely shared and wants it to go out so that it can help others and so that God may be glorified. May you be encouraged by the transformation of her life, the power of God, and the people, like the Bible Society of Rwanda, who have come alongside her to help her healing.”
WOW! I hope you take the time to read Colette’s business plan (Business Plan. Keza) and testimony (KEZA NGENDAHIMANA COLETHE interview)! If you didn’t get a chance to, I would encourage you to do so. I am so inspired by her business name – There Is Still Hope – and she provides us with an amazing example of “one who has risen above suffering, and is healing and living, as she finds meaning in faith, friendship, work and service.”
I’m excited to let you know that I have an opportunity, possibly in March, to be able to start selling Colette’s merchandise through the Handmade Hive Online Marketplace! As the time gets closer, I look forward to sharing more with you about Colette and her beautiful handcrafted products. In the meantime, here are a few ways you can help Colette use “her hands and simple things to make everlasting and important things”:
~ Are you someone who would be interested in this type of personal financial investment–as a woman, as a business owner, a craftsman and/or someone with a love for helping someone internationally? If not you, do you know of someone who has a heart for international business development or helping a woman in need? If so, would you be able to pass this along to them?
~ Are you someone who would be interested in connecting with Colette to help her improve her product or develop ideas for other products? Colette is looking to network with others to develop her business. If you, or someone you know, would like to partner with Colette to develop her business or help her practice her English, please contact Heather Evans – firstname.lastname@example.org
Over the past few months, I have had the pleasure of working on a few sewing projects with some gals who are survivors of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation at a therapeutic residential home in the Lehigh Valley called the Truth Home. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, the Truth for Women website (www.truthforwomen.org) describes the Truth Home as “a therapeutic residential home offering dramatically changed lives and hope-filled futures to survivors of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. The home offers a safe place for motivated women, who want an opportunity, to rebuild their lives. The home provides a warm, family setting for women, consisting of 8-12 months in an intensive therapeutic environment.”
Not only have I had the opportunity to work with them, but they are also working on making quilts with another volunteer who regularly visits the home. Unfortunately, most of the machines are no longer in working order. In addition to sewing, the participants also have the opportunity to work on other creative projects like scrap-booking and painting, however, there currently is not a dedicated craft room at the Home.
Teaching the participants how to sew and giving them the ability to express their creativity is just one of the many ways that helps assist in their recovery through life skills training, life enrichment classes, job skills, mentoring, coaching and healthy lifestyle.
I am looking to purchase 3 brand new sewing machines (see listing here) for the participants to use during their stay at the Truth Home and also raise funds for the craft room. Each machine costs $145 so I’m looking to raise at least $435.00. Any additional funds will go towards purchasing paint (for walls), an area rug, a table, chairs, shelves, lamps and anything else that will help to create this space for them!
Here are a few ways you can participate:
~ Take a few minutes and visit www.truthforwomen.org and click on the Truth Home tab to learn more about the Truth Home. You can also visit thevast.org to learn more about Valley Against Sex Trafficking (VAST) and the work that is being done in the Lehigh Valley through a coalition of volunteers to eliminate human sex trafficking through prevention efforts in awareness, action and aftercare.
~ Visit my fundraising page and make a donation of any amount – https://www.crowdrise.com/sewingmachineforthetruthhome/fundraiser/courtneydoncevic
~ Share this post with anyone you think would be interested in donating.