Just met an incredible woman named Gayle who works in Northern India with a nonprofit called Mahima Creations of India. They provide sustainable work and emotional support for destitute widows who have been shunned from their families and from society.
Read about them below and consider making a purchase from their Etsy shop: http://etsy.com/shop/MahimaCreations
The story, as told by Gayle:
“Widows in India are considered bad luck; they often are thought to have caused the death of their husbands through some prior life bad karma; they are shunned by family and friends, stripped of their colorful saris and bangles and pushed out of the household to fend for themselves.
Many (20,000) end here up in Vrindavan because it is the Hindu “Mecca” for Krishna devotees, and they spend 8 hours a day chanting in some of the 5,000 temples here, for which they get paid a few rupees (2-3 cents); a handful of rice; and the hopes that for all their efforts, they will come back in their next life in a better position. They are easy targets for abuse and neglect; the younger ones often end up in prostitution.
Mahima Creation’s mission is to educate people of the widows’ plight and to help ease their burden through sustainable employment. We have a network of India women who donate their gently used, beautiful saris for our work projects, such as scarves; and the widows also make paper bead necklaces, and other simple items. Most of our products are shipped back to the United States and sold through a network of friends and churches.
The widows receive daily pay for their work; hugs and hot cups of sweet creamy chai are always available, too! I always have readily available the most beautiful array of sari pieces, paper beads and other delectable items as can only be found in India. While the women can make very simple items, their skills are limited, so I often design and make unique pieces of jewelry and clothing with what I have left on the cutting floor or something that caught my eye in the local bazaar.”
Browse beautiful beads, fabric clutches, and other treasures at http://etsy.com/shop/MahimaCreations