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Made by Survivors Holiday Cards are In!

11.11.2010 in Uncategorized

Our most popular holiday product in five gorgeous designs -It is a great time to send holiday cards and bring joy to survivors of slavery.  These beautiful card sets are handmade miniature works of art, showcasing the blockprinting, hand-cutting and applique traditions of Nepal on thickly textured paper made from renewable resources.  

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My Translator Needs A Translator

31.10.2010 in Uncategorized

Last blog I was focused on challenges and as I started teaching again at WIF’s CCH, a couple of new challenges popped up. Actually they have names, and we’ll call them: Rita, Konnie and Angela, and they are my favorite kind of challenge. When success is the outcome from situations like this it is absolutely the sweetest kind of success.

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The City of Joy is Challenge City

22.10.2010 in Uncategorized

Executing a project in India can be a very different experience for a westerner. There are so many challenges including: the obvious language barrier, the language barriers across Indian states, the slow moving correspondences, the numerous holidays and strikes, the power outages, the harsh weather and personal health issues, are a few.

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No, I’m Perfectly Comfortable. Why Do You Ask?

17.10.2010 in Uncategorized

One aspect of living in Kolkata that takes some acclimating to, is not having your comforts of home, or much comfort at all for that matter. The sensory assault here, is unrivaled, I assure you, even if you are a city dweller. The only upside is that living here is so exhausting, I somehow find a way to sleep solidly, at least for a couple of hours.

So here is a picture from my first night’s sleep in the Kolkata Made By Survivors flat, just for some levity.

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07.10.2010 in Uncategorized

For a month or so now, I have been teaching a local “Girls’ Group” course on leadership, service, teamwork and healthy attitudes to middle school girls on Cape Cod. Every week as I prepare my curriculum, purchase supplies, review and research touch points, my mind (well, my heart, really) wanders to thinking about the girls I met in India. Surprised?  Well, to me, this seems only natural since majority of them are the very same age and I find working with this age group – regardless of location on the planet – catapults me directly into my “element”.

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The Best Welcome Gift

03.10.2010 in Uncategorized

My first day with the survivors at Women’s Interlink Foundation’s Child Care Home (CCH) was amazing. The warm welcome was overwhelming, and it wasn’t the beautiful songs, traditional dances and hand painted cards they prepared for me that really filled my heart, although that was all really wonderful. It was the outpouring of affection and excitement that was so amazing.

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Kolkata: Take 2

30.09.2010 in Uncategorized

Kolkata – Take 2

I arrived in Kolkata two days ago to start a new phase of the Made By Survivors Jewelry Program. Today will be my first time back with the survivors at Child Care Home at Women’s Interlink Foundation. I am so eager to see their beautiful faces, look through their projects to see progress and to start training them to produce Made By Survivors fall jewelry line.

I am sort of surprised to note that I have slipped back into life in India like I had never left. It’s fantastic to be back working with the amazing team in India, who are indeed, the backbone of this program: Paul, Doel and Soma.

As I embark on the first day, I try to: envision reaching all the goals we all would like to accomplish, muster up a stiff upper lip and dig deep for extra patience, love and compassion to interact (for many months) with women who have been demoralized most of their lives, and, implement learnings from my last trip here and recent meetings with jewelry mentors. It’s a lot to do, but luckily, motivation for tackling these tasks has never been stronger.

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“Without challenge, there is no life”

08.09.2010 in Uncategorized

 In August, we visited seven villages in Uttar Pradesh, India, including the site of our own Freedom School, where 52 school sponsored children are now out of slavery and receiving top quality education.  We were led by Bhanuja Sharan, the Director of regional partner agency MSEMVS.  Many of the men, women and children in these villages have been rescued by MSEMVS from bonded labor slavery, in agriculture, brick kilns, stone quarries and carpet looms.   

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“Without challenge, there is no life”

08.09.2010 in Uncategorized

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, Northern India – Aug. 15-16, 2010

In August, we visited seven villages in Uttar Pradesh, India, including our very own Freedom School village.  We were guided by Bhanuja Sharan, the Director of our incredibly impressive partner agency MSEMVS.  Many of the men, women and children in these villages have been rescued by MSEMVS from bonded labor slavery, in agriculture, brick kilns, stone quarries and carpet looms.   Some of the  villages we are seeing today were rescued last year, others as long as seven years ago, and the difference is dramatic!  In the first village, Bhanuja explains that the process has only been underway for 18 months.  The families here are all of the Dalit (untouchable) caste and many have been enslaved to powerful people (landowners, slaveholders, higher caste members) for the past three generations to pay off small debts incurred by their parents or even grandparents. 

Three Generations, Now Free

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