Because of you girls are protected. You bought a Christmas dress for your little girl and purchased protection for a little one in Nepal. 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.
You also provided a new training opportunity and Christian discipleship to two new Nepali women! This is invaluable in a society where jobs are scarce and needs are extreme. However, FREE goes beyond simply providing a job to their employees. They provide a benefits package and a healthy, peaceful work environment. In Nepal, it is normal to work excessively long hours for less than $2/day. It is normal to have no safety nets for healthcare. It is normal to work in a factory that doesn’t adhere to safety standards. Because everyone needs a job, and you’re willing to do what you must to provide for your family. But you have given these women a safe, dignifying way to provide for their children. You have given them hope and future. You have given them freedom.
As you see her hands working the beads onto the thread, you can’t see the darkness her hands have had to live through. You can’t see that these beads have set her free, because the beads mean income and the beads mean Christian discipleship. The beads mean her life is set free.
Beauty for Ashes Nepal is working every day to set these hands and several other sets of hands 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. These beautiful hands 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.
And the beautiful hope that they weave into each design will be delivered to your home, or the home of someone you love, each month, reminding you that we can change the world and that we can be part of the hope.
We must be that hope. Because each year more than 10,000 women and girls are trafficked from Nepal into the international sex trade, to be prostituted in brothels, in India and increasingly around the world.
They seek to create new beginnings and bring complete restoration. So they share God’s love with the disadvantaged in Kathmandu. Higher Ground is a broad reaching ministry that provides counseling to survivors of trauma, a safe home for those rescued from violence, scholarships to children in need, and skills training to those seeking decent work to provide for their families.
One of the skills they focus upon is handmade jewelry and accessories. So I was anxious to see their products and hear more of their story! I visited Higher Ground last week. When I arrived, they were singing and clapping, eyes closed with peaceful smiles. Oh my heart! They warmed my soul. I was instantly reminded of the privilege it was to be in Nepal ‘for a time such as this’. A devotion followed and then group prayer – Nepali style. Meaning we all prayed aloud, in unity, at the same time. Different words, different languages. A chaotic, melodious thanksgiving to God. An adoring plea for more of His presence in our lives. That is the way my relationship with Higher Ground began. *Insert goosebumps on my arms here!*
Needless to say, Trade for Freedom is beginning to partner with them. They are a perfect fit. They are striving to bring freedom, dignity, and hope into as many lives as they can touch. We want to help them so we’re beginning to sell their products. Profits will fund the counseling services, children’s scholarships, safe home, and other beautiful initiatives run by Higher Ground.
Why is it that she thrives and grows stronger with each day that her hands weave and sew and create?
Could her provision have been a gift only, that required no work or toil?
What is it that comes to life in us when we work, when we are empowered by what we can achieve, instead of receiving and then the giver walks away?
These jobs that bring women from darkness mean opportunities to reclaim value and worth that had once been stolen. And these jobs mean that each day they join in fellowship with others who know their stories so well, and together they heal and love and gain.
Would this come to be if money had just been given?
These women come to know themselves and the beauty that they can create with their own hands because they have been gifted empowerment. They’re being gifted the opportunity to re-learn the trades that will keep them from the darkness, trades that mean future and hope.
In four months I’ll be 30. Rapidly approaching what once felt like a mature age, I’m finding myself making decisions differently because maybe I haven’t made them right before?
Or maybe 30 really does bring maturity and my eyes see things in the world I didn’t see before?
Things like where my money goes and where my heart is in that and what good my money could do.
Maybe my 29 years so far are teaching me something about intentionality, and seeing every decision as a way to change the world?
Because my $10 for that Christmas gift could go into the register that doesn’t really actually need my $10. Or I could let that $10 be used to bring hope, and provide meaning, and bring light into darkness. And then when that $10 bracelet is unwrapped and worn while my sister takes care of her babies all day, she’ll be reminded that her life has intention, and purpose, and that she can spread hope too.
A new sister was officially hired by our partner Beauty for Ashes Nepal because so many of you bought the beautiful works of their hands.
And when she was hired, we were thrilled to tears. Celebrating with her! A celebration we want you to enjoy as well.
Because she can finally send her thirteen year old daughter to school! She can buy herself the first nice tunic she’ll ever own. She can go to the doctor and finally get her blurry eyes checked. And she can continue being part of the warmest family she’s ever known. A family that shares one another’s burdens and joys. That loves deeply, everyone who enters their door.
Now, she’s living with freedom, dignity, and hope…
Make your purchases mean something this Christmas. Gift freedom. And celebrate with us!
This February, a small act of love will bring glimpses of hope to the beautiful hands that thread the beads and sew the sari you adore. With your words, you can show these hands and this soul that your love is with her.
This Valentine’s Day, we’re collecting your kind words, to be hand-delivered to the Nepali women, your friends, who craft the products you adore. We will hand write each message, carving your words into the paper that will carve a place into their hearts for you to live.
Your message will be translated so that your words will enter into her heart language.
Your name will be etched on the bottom, reminding her that someone befriends and loves her.
Your words will help to bring our mission past the sales, past the marketplace, and into the most sacred passageways to these women’s lives – their hearts. No purchase, just words.
Will you join us? Here’s how…
Write a few words of encouragement to a sister in Nepal.
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 this beautiful life. It’s safe and peaceful here in rural-farm-town USA. 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 with 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? These are my worries, [small they may be].
In the mountainous country of Nepal, are women, many of them 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 easily lead me to think I have nothing in common with a woman who lives so far removed. Yet, as women, we have commonality — we have hopes and dreams for the future. We seek safety and security for ourselves and we desire love. In this way, we are the same.
I already have a safe life and honestly, I don’t want to leave it, even in my imagination, to let myself ponder what life is like for a poverty stricken woman who lives in Nepal. But for a moment, I try. I dig up the greatest empathy and compassion I can muster and I begin to breathe in her reality. I determine to walk in her shoes along a path my naivety invents… to not have the freedom to choose a career, to not get paid a livable wage, to not have health care, to not be able to send her children to school, to not be safe, to not know hope for her future. I imagine she has little girls like me, I let myself picture those girls without any of the security I expect, lured into a despicable life, traumatized beyond my wildest imaginings. Right there I stop and tears fill my eyes. My mind hurries back to the safety of my farmhouse.
It challenges me just to picture her life and that humbles me. What amazing strength it must take to rise above dire circumstances and learn to trust and hope, learn a new skill, and live in freedom.
Every year more than 10,000 girls and women are trafficked from Nepal. 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 and sustaining businesses that rescue women, give them employment, health care and importantly, Christian counseling that teaches them about freedom in Christ. From my corner of small-farm-town USA, I feel a common bond with them, women and mothers just like me, but who are courageous and strong as they make a safe life in Nepal.
They’re beautiful, as they wrap around your shoulders and waist. Delicate and warm and lined with hand-picked buttons, the fabric tells a story of the beautiful hands that have made them.
The beautiful hands that with each stitch grow more freedom and hope, because the scarves mean one more step toward a future more redeemed than the past.
They stitch their stories into the scarves that you wear to work and to the playground and to the dinner with friends where you escape the day. And you carry the stories with you – you become part of the story.
Because when you buy, you give more and more life to their story. More hope. More reminders that what they set to do each day is blessing women with beautiful garments. Beautiful garments that give life.
What do you do when the quake comes…. a massive, earth altering quake that makes more than 7,000 hearts stop beating and buries entire villages?
How does your own heart keep beating when you sleep on the broken concrete sidewalk outside your house from fear of after shocks and you know that not everyone is safe, not everyone has food, and not everyone has hope?
What do you do from afar as the images pour into your heart and the distance is so wide that the work you could do feels so small?
You do what you can do.
And sometimes the “cans” mean biking miles to the base of the mountain and then hiking yet more to reach the unreached, giving rice and water.
Maybe the “cans” mean hiring 20 new women because disasters make people more vulnerable to trafficking (see IJM below). That “can” means a job which means money for food and water and shelter reasons not to give up hope.
Yet for others the “cans” are as simple as buying and wearing a bracket that gives work to those 20 new women and those who have made the jewelry before who need to bring restoration to themselves and to their families.
You do what you can do.
You live no matter where you find yourself and you let your “cans” change the world.