An Organization that Gives Power Back to Girls and Women

A Revelee necklace

A Revelee necklace

In keeping with what I wrote about last week, the book Half the Sky, I’d like to spend one more week talking about human trafficking and how people around the world are fighting back to help girls and women. As a matter of fact, one organization is helping so much that these women wanted to change the name of the company, so their past no longer defines them! Amazing stuff.

First I would like to share a poem with you that I wrote after attending a human trafficking education night a few years ago at the University of Illinois. I was shocked to learn how often sex trafficking went on around the world and in the United States (I was very naive). Because of the information this night, I read Half the Sky. I started buying gifts from the website MadebySurvivors.com, and I wrote this poem:

 When Does Innocence Die?

for the victims of human trafficking

 When does innocence die?

 From the moment the foreigner saunters

Into the village and lies to parents about—

 A bright future only he can provide for their girls,

In Europe or America or any place but here.

Or is it from the moment the girl of fourteen,

Filled with hope and dreams, begs her parents

 To let her go and see the world and send money back?

Maybe innocence dies the moment her father,

Doubting each syllable, finally whispers,

“Yes, you can go.”

When does innocence die?

 From the moment she’s thrown into the room

With filthy girls, older and younger than she,

 And the madam barks to quit her crying and

Put on some nice clothes for the gentlemen.

Or is it from the moment she’s slapped across

The face when she asks how soon she’ll be taken to

The fancy, new modeling agency and the john

Spits in her face and says, “Stupid girl” ?

Maybe innocence dies when the ten-year-old

Girl takes her hand and shows her a scar made

By the knife of a john or the madam or her own momma.

When does innocence die?

 From the moment she spends her days looking

Out a boarded window and can no longer see—

No clouds, no swaying branches, no puddles after rain.

Or is it from the moment the madam finally comes for her

Grabs her arm and sneers, “He wants you” ?

Maybe innocence dies when she enters the darkened room

With a face full of make-up like a beauty queen and

She sits on the hard bed, waiting for a male hand

To touch her leg and move her gown

Ever so slightly up her thigh.

Innocence died—

while she waited for us to realize

the Truth.

More jewelry from Made by Survivor

More jewelry from Made by Survivor

 (From their website) Made by Survivors, founded in 1995, provides jobs, education and shelter to survivors of slavery, child marriage, and other human rights abuses in India, Nepal, Cambodia and Thailand, where human trafficking is a huge problem. We train survivors and create jobs in highly respected professions, with high wages that develop business and leadership skills.  One of our most successful programs is our Jewelry Program.  In India, metalsmithing is traditionally a male-only profession.  Our survivor-metalsmiths are breaking gender barriers, earning a middle class wage, rescuing others, and uplifting their families and communities.

The women’s gorgeous creations are now available at our new web store, Relevée.com – the new home for Made By Survivors jewelry. Our model is not to get survivors just above the poverty line but to train and employ them in high paying careers.  Some of our first jewelry trainees are now serving as trainers, program managers and mentors for new trainees.  They are breaking gender barriers and transforming their families and communities.  All of our employment centers are designed so they can be self-sustaining,  and survivor-owned within three years. With help from professional  jewelers, we are training our artisans to express their own creativity and life experiences  through jewelry.

I have bought this jewelery as presents for my mom and friends. It comes with a little note that explains how the jewelry has helped a woman gain her independence. If you have a gift to buy for a jewelry lover this summer, consider stopping by Relevee.com .

I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains. – Anne Frank.

2 Comments

  • You write things that leave me so inspired. My mom loves jewelry, so this website will go on my Christmas list. Great poem that really makes you think, too :)

    • Thanks, Spirit Lady! I feel the same about you. :)

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