Happy Anniversary to Made By Survivors Jewelry Program!12 May 2011, by Made By Survivors Programs in
Dianna Badalament, International Jewelry Program Director for Made By Survivors, shares her thoughts on the first year of Made By Survivors jewelry program in Kolkata, India. Dianna studied the classical techniques of metalworking at Jewelry Arts Institute in New York City and Revere Academy of the Jewelry Arts in San Francisco, where she completed the School’s Jewelry Technician Intensive Program. She spent several months in Kolkata setting up the program and training the girls and did a great job giving them skills they needed to get their craft going. Check out her website to see examples of her work http://www.diannabdesigns.com/
A year has passed since the inception of the Made By Survivors Jewelry Program in India, and what an amazingly inspirational year it was. The past year was filled with ambitious (sometimes eyebrow raising) goals, huge challenges and unbelievable progress and accomplishments that only a dedicated and compassionate team of people could produce.
When I reflect on the starting point of this program, I am amazed at how far the survivors have come, both personally, and in their new trade. We began with the majority of the students never holding a hand tool before, now they effectively metalsmithing in silver and are savvy jewelry designers. The survivors have learned a highly technical trade and to do so was not easy. They have overcome their own personal traumas, language barrier, and, a boiling hot studio in the summer and, not only persevered through many a rough spot, but shined like diamonds. The survivors have confronted fears, health problems, disability and teen angst. They showed they are not only very capable to learn, improve, make, create, hope and love, but that they yearn for it.
As ‘the year of the jewelry studio’ draws to a close, I’m back in the U.S., but the visions of beautiful faces with huge smiles of accomplishment linger. For the next year, we hope to be just as ambitious. Then, more beautiful faces can wear that smile.