Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Story of Hope: Jewelry for Moldova

Aren't they lovely? These are some of the bracelets I had the opportunity to help make last week in Amsterdam. One of the girls who hosted me, Mariska, invited me to a jewelry party with her friends. She explained that the bracelets would be sold to help fund the education of a girl who was rescued in Moldova from a very vulnerable situation. Of course I was immediately interested because of my fellowship, but I also have always loved making jewelry. This was a really exciting opportunity for me to do something to help and meet some wonderful people!

Many of the women at the jewelry party had taken a trip to Moldova, where they taught the girls how to make these bracelets. They became such a hit that people began asking if they could buy, so the team decided to use the jewelry as a fundraiser for one particular girl that they had met. Here is her story:

Rema* was orphaned at an extremely young age, but her story has a much happier ending than most female orphans in her country of Moldova. She was adopted by a family at age 6, but at age 15, her adopted father, who had lost his wife a few years after adopting Rema, decided to send her to an orphanage again. Unfortunately, in Moldova, orphanages do not provide services for children who have turned 16 or 17, and they must find a way to take care of themselves with little transitional assistance.

These orphan "graduates" are easy targets for traffickers, who offer them a way to make money in other countries and feign love or support for these children. Because the age of consent is 16 in Moldova, it is also very difficult to provide concrete evidence in order to convict traffickers.

That's where New Hope Moldova comes in. Rema was able to move in to one of their three transition homes in the country, where she was provided with housing, food, and access to further education. Their largest transition home can hold over 300 girls, and the organization is seeing great success in their work. Rema is an example of such success. After being orphaned the second time, the New Hope Moldova transition home took her in. She completed her high school education while at the home and began studying fashion design. She now can make beautiful clothing and has impressed all of her teachers. Her hope now is to continue her education in fashion design so she can get a stable job.

The team from Amsterdam met Rema a few months ago and were moved by her story. Her dreams to pursue fashion were being crushed by the financial burdens of paying for an education. The team decided to do whatever they could to help, and that's how this jewelry making project began.

They are well on their way to their goal, and Rema is now enrolled in school thanks to a loan from a generous donor to be paid back by the jewelry making project. You can find out more about New Hope Moldova here.

I was so excited to be able to take part, in a small way, with this project. The leader of the group wrote me recently to say that the bracelets were already selling well! It was a great experience to learn a new skill and meet some inspiring women who care about preventing the sexual exploitation of women and girls.

Oh, and here are the bracelets I made. What do you think? I hope they are helpful to the cause these women care so much about. It can be hard during this fellowship to get discouraged by the magnitude of the problem, so I am always encouraged when I meet people passionate within their circle of influence. Even when it helps just one girl in Moldova, there is more beauty and justice in the world than there was before.

*Rema is a pseudonym used for her protection


No comments: