The Sacred Thread16 Aug 2011, by Empowering Women in
(Paul pictured getting a Rakhi tied by one of the girls)
This weekend was Raksha Bandhan, or Rakhi, a festival primarily observed in India that celebrates the relationship between brothers and sisters. The central ceremony involves the tying of a rakhi (sacred thread) by a sister on her brother’s wrist. This symbolizes the sister’s love and prayers for her brother’s well-being, and the brother’s lifelong vow to protect her. I was fortunate enough to be able to celebrate the holiday with the girls at the jewelry center and even though this was my 2nd time, this years ceremony carried a deeper meaning for me.
Since last year’s Rakhi the girls have grown leaps and bounds both professionally and personally and the difference is quite stunning to see first hand. All of the girls skills have improved significantly and they are now in full production mode making a variety of designs which challenge them to keep on honing their craft. This has improved their self esteem in ways I never thought possible and I continue to see improvements each day. These are empowered women. They are still amazed that people from all over the world get to see their work online and support them by buying stuff they made. They see themselves portrayed in pictures that speak to the hope they have and the happiness they are experiencing and want to see more of them. They are excited to see what will come next and for the first time in many of their lives, they see a future that is bright with possibilities they couldn’t dare imagine before.
We’ve had two weddings in the past year and are now experiencing the joy of two pregnancies. It makes me so happy to look at those glowing, smiling faces and big, round bellies and see the joy it brings them. They have a baby on the way! They are going to be a Mommy! Everything has changed for them. And they couldn’t be more excited. I can’t wait to see those beautiful faces come into the world and have the joy of knowing the love their mother has for them. They will be incredible mothers.
So as I sat there this year and watched them tie the Rakhi on me, I saw how much they have become empowered women. I saw girls that were stronger and prouder and happier. And I saw skilled metalsmiths that were breaking the mold of what it means to be a girl living in a shelter home in India.
It was awesome!