Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Gift That Keeps On Giving | Trade for Freedom

I watch from the window of my cozy farmhouse as my girls (ages 10 and 7) walk to the barn. Their blond hair shines in the sun and I am filled with thankfulness for our beautiful life. Sure, I have worries for them. Accidents happen, the girls are building a boat out of rough wood to float down the stream. What if one of them gets hurt by the hammer or poked with a nail? Or what if they forget to be kind to one another and they come home crying because a name was called and feelings are hurt?

In places that seem a million miles away from my own safe farm are mothers with different worries. They worry about what to feed their children and how to make enough money to survive just another day. The distance and different life circumstances can lead me to think I have nothing in common with a woman who lives in Nepal, for instance. Yet, as a mother, I can identify -- we have goals and dreams and we may even have little girls who hold our heart-strings and make us smile with their beauty. 

What if I let myself share the worries of a poverty-stricken mother who lives in Nepal? 

I live in rural America and have never asked myself these questions, but what if I had to?:

"What if someone grabs my beautiful daughters and kidnaps them and forces them into prostitution and I can't find them because there are literally too many corners of the earth to search?" 
"What if I have no money, not a cent, and to feed my other children, my last option is to sell one of my daughters into the sex trade? The income is the difference of her dying a slow death in a horrible life or all of us dying today because we are hungry." 
"What if my daughters grow up to believe that prostitution is the only way to feel value and love from men? What if they choose that life, not knowing how dark and entrapping it really is?" 
"What if my daughter grows up to an empty future without an option for a career and turns to prostitution to support herself and her children?" 

Every year more than 10,000 girls and women are trafficked from Nepal into the sex trade to be prostituted in brothels, in India and around the world. It's a real, huge, and ugly problem. It may feel too far away for me to help, but there is hope. There are compassionate and driven people working to set women free in Nepal by creating businesses that rescue women, give them employment, health care and importantly, Christian counseling that teaches them about freedom in Christ. 

One of these businesses is Beauty For Ashes in Nepal. I first heard about them last Spring when I was approached about helping with graphic design for a promotional card. Sure! I said. This is something real I can do from my home that gets the word out about a business that is giving women freedom, dignity, and hope for tomorrow. The jewelry, scarves and bags they make are beautiful

The idea is this: the more product a business like Beauty For Ashes can sell, the more women can be rescued. That's where Trade for Freedom comes in. Trade for Freedom was born of the desire to make it easier for folks like me and you to have an impact by having access to products ethically manufactured. All Trade for Freedom purchases ensure dignifying employment and Christian discipleship is provided to women and men who have endured extremely difficult circumstances.  Profits are invested in social businesses committed to freedom worldwide.

I started working for Trade for Freedom on their start-up campaign in the summer and I have to say, it's been humbling for me personally to be part of this work. When I quit my photography business, I had no idea how God was going to use my creativity. I am so thankful for the opportunity to design, photograph, and promote with Trade for Freedom

Our first effort was to sell a beautiful little girl's dress made by Fre3 in Nepal. We met our goal and sold 150 dresses and the business was able to hire 2 new women. It is so exciting to know 2 women have the chance to live safe and beautiful lives. Also, the profits from the Christmas dress sales contributed to sponsoring a Daughter Project which teaches Nepali girls about building character, protecting themselves and others from trafficking or abuse, in addition to helping them prepare for their future.

The next project is for a subscription to jewelry handmade in Nepal by Beauty for Ashes. Trade for Freedom is offering an amazing opportunity to receive jewelry each month (6 or 12 months or the whole collection at once) and get the gift that keeps on giving. I have a few of the pieces and they are stunning! I can't wait to see the entire collection, but I will have to live in anticipation like everyone else. This is going to be a fun year! 

The subscription is affordable. At only $15 a month ($99 for 6 months or $199 for 12 months), the pieces reflect Nepali beauty and are current with Western fashion. They are custom designed and handcrafted by gifted women. I received an anthropology catolog and was wooed by similar jewelry for over $75 each piece; a necklace like the one pictured on the left was $150! I couldn't believe it! The jewelry featured in the Trade for Freedom collection is every bit as lovely and I will wear it proudly (and give as gifts too), knowing I made a tiny difference in the lives of women in Nepal. 

Beauty for Ashes Nepal is working every day to set women free from sex trafficking and to provide safety to those who are at-risk for becoming a statistic.  When you live in a country that ranks fifth in the world for the population entrapped in sex trafficking per capita, someone needs to provide hope.

This Christmas, Trade for Freedom is partnering with Beauty for Ashes Nepal to help be that hope. They are crafting an exclusive jewelry line and working themselves into a future that has light and life.

Will you join with us?

Will you join with us to gift freedom?

One hundred jewelry subscriptions sold means 5 new women will be employed and become discipled next year. 


1 comment:

Stacy Coleman said...

Is it too late to order a girls Christmas dress?