I love when people come into The Marketplace and marvel at all the pretty bags we sell. What many don't realize is that we are so much more than a pretty bag. We are a woman's story.
Take a bag from Cambodia for instance; it was made by a woman who has been passed around all of her life. Through a broken life, beauty comes alive. Sak Saum is investing in her through counseling, teaching, and employing. They share the love of Christ; the only restorer from a life of horror. When you carry that bag, you are standing with her. It's more than just a pretty bag.
Some people see the tremendous amount of work it takes to sew a Jacaranda Creations Patchwork Medium Tote together. While that is true, I see a woman who once was begging now being about to take care of herself and her children. When I was in Nairobi Kenya I sat in a home of Gladys. The home was nothing more than a room that had a mud floor, mud walls, and a roof that constantly leaked. She was so excited to show me her home and all her beautiful things which she had to cover in plastic to protect from the rain. What I saw was not her belongings; I saw the spark of dignity in her eyes. She was so proud to now be able to provide an afternoon snack for her children. When I show someone that Medium Tote, I remember Gladys. It's more than just a pretty bag.
JOYN bags from India are beautiful. Many people marvel at how hip they are. It's true they are incredibly fashionable. But when I look at a JOYN bag I see all the hands it takes to make that bag. The fabric is woven by the leprosy colony. Another pair of hands block stamps the fabric using a vegetable dye. Another one washes the fabric and finally another pair of hands sews it into a beautiful bag. Each hand that touches it is empowered. Lives are changed. On JOYN's tag you will see the name of who wove the fabric, who block stamped it, and who sewed the bag. It's more than just a pretty bag.
At The Marketplace, we don't just sell pretty bags. You can get a pretty bag anywhere. What we do is share stories of transformation. Each bag has a story. Each bag is a person. Know that when you purchase a bag, you are investing in a woman in another part of the world. Transformation happens when people are given a chance. I love when people leave The Marketplace with their pretty bag and the story of the person who made it.
Thank you for making The Marketplace successful. Without you telling our stories, we are nothing more than a store that sells pretty bags.
Empowering people. Changing lives.
Do you remember a time in your life when your child came home so distraught? Someone had excluded him, said something mean to her, or just treated him unfairly. As you watched your child tell the story, your heart broke for how unfair the world was. You would try to console him and make things better. I want you to remember that feeling as I share a story.
One day she heard about Heshima Ministries. Heshima has a school for the disabled in Nairobi Kenya with trained therapists on staff. Macharia was finally able to receive the help he so desperately needed. He received occupational therapy, speech therapy, and special education. He is now able to use sign language and knows his numbers and colors.
Macharia's mom started working with Dignity Designs, Heshima's income generating project. The moms of the disabled children can participate in this program to make beautiful jewelry and accessories. They are paid a fair wage so their children can go to this school and they can support themselves. As they work together, they are building community and becoming each other's support system. Today Mama Macharia, as she is affectionately called, is the manager of Dignity Designs and handles the day to day production of the business. She is also a prayer warrior and is often praying for Heshima Ministry and the rest of the staff.
We love when people who are on our prayer wall come in and give us an update. This is Debbie. She 1st came in a day before her surgery and we placed her on our wall. She stopped back by a few weeks later and gave us an update and wanted to ...buy a Sak Saum Head Scarf. We were about 1 week away from receiving them. She came back last Saturday. I had not seen her since the 1st time she came. She looked awesome! Her eyes were bright and she had such peace. She thanked us for keeping her on the board since she still had a few more treatments. She bought a crimson head scarf. She stopped by TMP @ GCC on Sunday wearing it! She looked incredible! She came in to buy another one. She said it was so comfortable.
In spite of all the obstacles she is facing, she had such peace. For all who have prayed for Debbie, this picture is for you!