This last winter and spring has been a wild schedule of traveling to five countries within four months but rather than feeling depleted, Nicole and I are feeling energized from each of our experiences. Every story adds to our sense of purpose and mission at CWOW—training women who are rising out of poverty, human trafficking or disaster with the power of creative business development!
Nicole and I were both able to work in Kenya with Grace and the Mwangatu women as well as some of the other artisan groups in Nairobi. Grace is a beautiful example of servant leadership as she keeps looking for ways to empower the women with whom she works. We invite you to partner with us so her work can grow.
In Uganda Grace and I visited Josephine’s work with unwed teenage mothers at The Fortress. It was exhilarating to see the young girls learn a new skill of soap making which would prepare them for setting up their own businesses when they moved back to their villages. That ability to support themselves and their child gives them self esteem and independence.
In India we had the privilege of visiting the artisans with whom Handmade Expressions, one of our key vendors, work. Most of them are located in the colorful Rajasthan area of India. We got to participate in the ancient tradition of block printing, observed wood carving and weaving in villages north of Delhi and were mesmerized by the delicate technique of reverse applique created by the artisans in the desert near the Pakistani border. We are proud to partner with Handmade Expressions as they support an Indian non profit organization that makes sure the skilled people they work with get consistent orders as well as training and services for practical needs.
We had a stopover in Japan on our way to Indonesia so we tried to make the most of the long weekend. I wanted to take Nicole to visit the Nozomi workshop in Ishinomaki where I had previously consulted but it turned out to be a huge national holiday so it didn’t work out. But we do keep contact with the Nozomi team and were able to get a new shipment of beautiful pottery shard jewelry created by the tsunami survivors. It is selling fast as it always does. The women are SO encouraged by your support!
Indonesia turned out to be even more than we could have ever imagined! We at CWOW were honored to be invited by Yayasan Pondok Kasih to do business training and product development for both Muslim and Christian participants in YPK’s training center and out in a village. At the end of the training, many of the 30+ participants expressed through tears and warm embraces that this was JUST what they needed to have the courage to step into creative thinking and sustainable businesses. They continue to meet regularly for mutual encouragement and accountability.
While in Surabaya we also spoke at rallies for transgendered persons using the medium of live art, found beauty in the faces of the mentally ill living in an institution, created jewelry with women rescued from human trafficking, held babies at YPK’s spotlessly clean orphanage and were inspired by a strong group of women praying with vigor for their city, their country and the world. We gave AND received transforming love! YPK is an Indonesian foundation that has triggered a beautiful peace movement across Indonesia promoting understanding and mutual respect while advocating for the poor and marginalized. Mama Hana, the founder, is totally focused on offering love wherever she goes and to whomever she meets. Her dedicated staff has also caught the vision and allows God to work through them in astounding ways! We are entering into a more long-term relationship with YPK and look forward to the creative energy ahead!
All of this is made possible through your tax deductible donations to our mission fund or by your purchase of products in our CWOW and LOTUS stores. The mission fund and store operating funds are NOT co-mingled so you can rest assured that your donation will go to the mission of training and artisan development alone. Thank you for changing the world through the power of creativity!
Donations are accepted online at GoCWOW.org. or by mailing a check to:
CWOW (Creative Women of the World)
125 West Wayne
Fort Wayne, IN 46825