Tag Archives: Red Thread Movement

What it means to make an RTM Bracelet

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Within the first few minutes of being in the safe home, I saw several girls weaving Red Thread bracelets, either on their beds, the porch, or in the kitchen. This touched my heart immediately. I was introduced to Red Thread Movement and Eternal Threads at Abilene Christian University during undergrad. Seeing the bracelets being made and hearing how this venture helps rescued girls in Nepal instantly piqued my interest. It was hard to imagine the difficulties they faced before arriving at the safe home. Even making simple bracelets showed bravery and confidence. A few years later, I was honored to have the opportunity to work at Eternal Threads and see the positive impact of the bracelets more frequently. Every time a shipment came in or Linda brought back a suitcase full of bracelets, our whole staff would get excited. So, when I first arrived in Nepal in September of 2013, I was thrilled beyond words. In fact, I was so excited that the girls looked at me questionably, as if to ask, “Why does this make you so incredibly happy?”

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What does it mean to the girls to make Red Thread Movement bracelets? Yes, an income is an aspect of it, but it is so much more than that. During my time there I saw how making bracelets affected the girls in many positive ways. They are able to earn and save money. It gives them a simple yet useful skill to learn and have ownership over. It encourages them to work hard; the more bracelets they make, the more money they save. It fosters community with the girls. I can’t tell you how many times groups of girls sat together inside or outdoors, chatting away while they thread bracelets. To top that off, the girls know where the bracelets are going and what these red threads mean to those who purchase them. The girls know that they are thought of and loved from afar.

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Chances are, you already have a bracelet, but there is no limit to how many one person can buy! You are welcome, and encouraged to buy more, for you (especially when yours wears out), and for you and your friends and family. In addition to buying bracelets, you can expand your impact by SPREADING THE WORD about Red Thread Movement. POST about us on your social media. INVITE your friends to follow us. When more people are aware, more partner to sign on to sell bracelets, and more rescued girls earn money and confidence.

 

YOU can make a difference!

 

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A Story of Hope

Hello, my name is Amita*, and I am from central Nepal. My family is very poor, and when I was young my mother left us and eloped with another man. My father remarried, and soon after he and my stepmother started to verbally and physically abuse me. I was only 7 years old at the time. Unable to tolerate the abuse, I ran away to a tourist city. There I worked as a dish washer at a hotel. After a while I met a kind woman and ended up staying with her and her family. They sent me to school. At a school picnic, I met a boy. We exchanged phone numbers and grew close very fast. Eventually we got married and I went with him to India, but he and his father abused me there. Later, we went back to Nepal and stayed at a hotel in Pokhara. My husband left me there, and though I waited for him some time he never came back. Out of desperation, I got on a bus and rode for twelve hours to the border in hopes of finding him. Two KI Nepal staff workers stopped me. They listened to my story, educated me on human trafficking (a high risk if I were to travel to India alone), and gave me the option to go to a safe home to learn a trade. I decided to go to a safe home. There I learned tailoring and beautician skills. I am grateful for this opportunity!

*Name changed for protection

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Amita making bracelets with her friends

I had the honor of meeting Amita and getting to know her during my time in Nepal. She has a determined personality and a kind heart. Amita also makes the best Roti (see description in “Food” blog post) I have ever had. Her story was shared with me after knowing her for a few months. My heart broke each time I heard a new story of a girl I’d been sharing life with. It’s hard enough to hear tragic stories when you don’t know the individual. But when you spend every day with that girl, learn her personality, see how she interacts with others, and find out her aspirations and dreams, hearing the reasons why she ended up in a safe home can nearly rip your heart out. What do you do? How can you process through the cruelty of the world negatively affecting a precious, innocent girl? How can a westerner (from a loving family) comprehend the abuse so many go through? I still haven’t figured it out. However, it is completely worth getting to know those girls. The relationship far outweighs the pain. Watching them overcome their troubles give you hope, inspires you, challenges you. You don’t get to “slide by” in life anymore, ignoring the poverty, the crimes against humans, and the issues that plague our world. You have to address them, in your own heart, and in the world around you. You have to do something!

Amita, along with so many other girls, changed me. They continue to challenge me with how they overcome, how they look at life, they’re positive attitude. I am forever blessed to know them to have a glimpse of their world.

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Start A Revolution!

As we walk into the New Year, I encourage you to make a change where you are! There are many ways to get involved, not only with anti-trafficking organizations (Red Thread Movement), but also other causes that fight for the underprivileged and those in need. Make this the year you step out and MAKE A CHANGE!

On a personal note, I have always had a heart for women who are victims of sex trafficking. In 2006 I attended a mission conference called Urbana. At this conference, I went to a seminar titled “Sex Trafficking” sponsored by International Justice Mission. I had no idea this one decision would change the rest of my life. At the seminar, I learned many things: sex trafficking is happening in most countries around the world. What a shock for me to find babies as young as one being sexually abused! Americans make up a large percentage of customers world-wide for trafficking. How unspeakable!

As appalling as this news was, it also stirred me. I didn’t know how, but I decided that day my goal was to work against trafficking. Though I have left many conferences with new passions that slowly fade over time, my desire to fight trafficking only grew stronger. It started with doing research and spreading the word. My passion has evolved over the years, and has shaped my choice in a degree and jobs. With each step, I become more determined to fight this evil. In 2011 I spent six weeks in Bolivia with Word-Made Flesh, learning from staff who serve women in prostitution in El Alto. In 2013 I embarked on a journey to Nepal working with KI Nepal, an anti-trafficking organization. I lived and worked in a safe home with rescued girls. I am honored to have spent seven months there and to partner with them in the U.S.

One rescued girl told me something I will never forget. After being in Nepal a few months, we sat together with another girl who helped translate. Sunita said, “Thank you for coming and spending time with us in the safe home. I will never forget you taking the time to come here from far away and spend time and care for us girls. Thank you.” I cannot tell you how encouraging this was! To get feedback from one of the very girls I mentored in the safe home meant the world to me. Things like that spur me on to do more!

*Name changed for protection

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Sunita and me last January. Identity protected.

What is your passion? What is your story? Whatever it is, it matters! You can make a difference in the world around you, and I challenge you in 2015 to start or continue on that journey!

What will you do? START A REVOLUTION!


ESCAPE

We recently received the following story from Nepal:

A 16-year-old girl has been rescued after being trafficked into India, enslaved in numerous brothels, and eventually escaping. Here is her story:

Alina* grew up as a middle child in a family of 11 in a rural Nepalese village. Her mother was neglectful, so Alina moved in with her aunt.

At age 14, Alina went to visit her sister. During this particular stay, Alina’s sister had to leave town for a few days, so Alina went to a neighbor’s home while she was gone. As Alina was helping with the household chores, the neighbor, a middle-aged woman, encouraged Alina saying, “You are so fast with your work!” Alina smiled. She rarely received any positive attention at home and the change was nice. The woman told Alina that she had worked in India making good money. Alina shared that she had a sister living in India. The neighbor offered to take her to her sister and to help her find a good job. She promised Alina that she would have money to buy nice clothes and extra to send home to her family. Out of a desire to help with family finances, in particular, medical needs for her grandmother, Alina agreed to go to India.They talked for hours, discussing “life in India” and making plans. The woman warned Alina not to tell her sister about her plans, and the day after Alina’s sister returned , she slipped out to meet the woman and begin their journey.

For one week, Alina stayed with the woman in India. During this time, the woman bought Alina nice clothes, treated her to fancy meals, and taught her about Indian culture. Unbeknownst to Alina, the woman was a local prostitute and trafficker, and was preparing her to be sold in India’s Red Light District. At the end of the week, the woman told Alina the truth: that she would be forced to work as a prostitute in a brothel. Alina cried and threatened to call the police, but she could not escape. The woman met with a brothel owner to broker the sale of Alina’s freedom. Once they had reached an agreement, they forced Alina to sign documents stating that she was there by choice. Sealed with a thumbprint at the bottom, Alina’s freedom was ripped away from her.

 Taken in one of India’s Red Light Districts.

For two years, Alina was forced to work in different brothels, hotels, and dance bars in the Red Light District. Alina was sometimes rebellious and fought the traffickers and brothel owners. In one instance, she was given housework for one month instead of having customers. It was common for her to have 8 customers a night. Sometimes she even had Nepali men as customers. When this occurred, she would cry and plead with them to help. Many times, they cried as well and did not assault her. Some even tried to help her escape.

One day, after escaping from a brothel, Alina caught a train, where she met a Nepali beautician trainer. Without mentioning that she recently escaped from forced prostitution, Alina told her she wanted to return to Nepal to be with her family. The woman agreed to take her during the Dashain Festival, and that Alina could stay with her and work in her beauty parlor until then. At the end of the month, the woman escorted Alina to Nepal and stayed in contact with her by phone. After the two-week holiday, the woman invited Alina to return to India and work in the beauty parlor with her, not knowing that she was underage. Alina agreed.

Border Girl

One of the brave women that work KIN’s anti-trafficking border units.

However, on their way back to India, the two were stopped by KIN staff at the border. Both were interviewed by the staff, where it was discovered that Alina was underage. Because the woman was not aware of this, and had legitimate papers to work in India as a beautician, the staff let her go. Alina was taken to the safehouse.

Alina is now receiving counseling in the safe house for the two years she spent in India’s Red Light District. She is outgoing and willing to share information about her experiences with KIN’s staff. Though some parts of her story are hard to share, she works to continue in order to help other girls like her. Through her bravery and willingness to share, KIN hopes to better help other girls in similar situations.

*Name changed for protection.

Check back for updates on Alina and other girls in the safe house. If you are interested in helping Alina and other girls like her, please consider donating to their recovery at  EternalThreads.org.

UPDATE: Alina, along with a KIN staff member, has met with a lawyer to begin steps to prosecute the woman who trafficked her into India and sold her into the brothels and possibly some of the brothel owners.  KIN has a strong record of successfully prosecuting traffickers in Nepal. Thanks to the bravery of these girls, and your contributions to their recovery, traffickers are being put away, making Nepali villages safer for other girls.

UPDATE: Part 2 of our PureCharity fundraising has been completed! Please consider donating towards sewing machines for the girls at EternalThreads.org.


REVOLUTION

It’s 2014. Ditch the resolution and start a revolution!

Reblogged from http://dalepartridge.com/let-fear-stop-died/.

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On June 13th 2011, my business partner and I launched Sevenly. A social good e-commerce company who partners with a new charity every week and donates $7 from every purchase to that charity’s cause.

Fast forward 2 years, 6 months, 5 days, and we have donated over $3,000,000 in $7 donations to charities and have supported over 1 million people! As I look back, we’ve raised money to fight everything from female gendercide in China and domestic violence in Mexico to suicide prevention in the U.S. and extreme hunger in East Africa. We’ve partnered with over 100 different charities supporting people in more than 80 countries. Wow… It humbles me every time I think about it. But, my question for you is this…

What if we didn’t?

What if we didn’t start Sevenly? What if we gave up? What if we got frustrated? What if we allowed fear to stop us? Sure there were moments of extreme stress, loss of sleep, intense resistance, and even sheer burnout. But I’ll say it again, “what if we didn’t?”

As I took a moment to reflect on the answer to this question, it almost brought me to tears. Here is the answer: Girls would still be trafficked, children would have died from drinking dirty water, women would be stuck in abusive relationships, and families would be fatally sick. This is not make believe, this is reality. The $3 million we’ve raised has literally saved people’s lives.

So, I ask you again, “What if we didn’t?” I think you’re getting the picture now.

My point is this, the decisions to chase our dreams go far beyond our own lives. While I was focused on building a great business that did some good for the world, I had not even connected, until now, that if we didn’t start Sevenly, people would actually lose their lives. So what is your dream? What’s stopping you from chasing it. What could the world look like if it works? Better yet, whose lives would you change?

Here is your permission. Go out there! Be bold. Be brave. Fight the good fight. Create something that matters and change the course of someone’s life, forever. Your ideas really are, that important.

 

 

Hey everyone! It’s Breahna, Director of Red Thread Movement, encouraging you to gather your courage and take a leap of faith this year! Not quite sure how to start your REVOLUTION? Check out the following ideas:

1. Raise Awareness, Raise FundsPure Charity allows anyone to raise money for their favorite cause through traditional online crowdfunding AND your everyday online purchases! So check it out, follow Eternal Threads, and start fundraising a whole new way!

2.  Petition for Freedom – Go to sites like Chain Store Reaction and Change.org to sign petitions against human trafficking and slavery.

3. Rock the RED – Commit to  wearing your Red Thread Movement bracelet every day and telling at least 1 person a week about how you are combating human trafficking in Nepal.

4. Become an Abolition AmbassadorSell RTM bracelets at your school, church and/or work. Become a Sevenly Ambassador. Turn your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Blog into a medium for FREEDOM.

5. Wear Fair – Commit to a year of sustainable choices. Check out Grace Holt’s blog, Living with the Holts, for great ideas about Fair Trade products and upcycling secondhand clothing!


Fighting Injustice, One Girl at a Time

Fighting Injustice, One Girl at a Time

As I reflected on my experience with the girls, I had a hard time meshing these sweet, joyful, innocent girls with a past of abuse and pain. They had been through so much, yet they were so happy. It makes me hurt to think how different their lives would be, the pain that would replace their sweet smiles, if it hadn’t been for the courageous girls at the border stations. I couldn’t help but think about my little sister, who just turned 16, and how I would do anything in the world to keep her from harm’s way. Knowing that these girls don’t have anyone to protect and love them at home, breaks my heart.

Then I thought about their futures, the destinies of each of these girls. How, in six short months, our partner is helping them create an entirely different life. They are taught a skill that will be their new occupation hopefully for the rest of their life. Most girls in the US are just trying to pick a college at their age.

Their identities change as well. For their entire lives up until this point, they believed they were “less than” because they were girls. They were considered a burden, just by being born. When they get to the safe house, they learn that they are valuable, important and loved. They learn how to successfully make a living for themselves.

Finally, for most of them, their world is turned when they begin a relationship with Christ. In the Hindu religion, in their culture, they believe in karma, which states that everything that you’ve done, both in this life and past lives, effects what happens to you in the future. For these girls, this means they believed that they were neglected, abused, and trafficked because of something THEY did. However, many come to know Christ, that he paid the ultimate price for all their sins, and that their slates are wiped clean. Imagine carrying the burden not only of every sin you’ve ever committed in your life, but in many, many lives. Then imagine that heavy burden being lifted off your shoulders, knowing that you are free, not only physically, but spiritually.
With this new self, these girls go home to become business women, active members in their communities, and church planters, all the while, changing the lives of others. Under a humble, sweet exterior burns a fire of strength and tenacity.

To change a nation, we don’t go into combat with an army of men. We fight injustice, one girl at a time.


Girls Being Girls

After contemplating my time in Nepal, I realized my most profound experience was simply spending time with the girls that live in the safe houses. Not in serious conversation or watching them construct beautiful garments or worshipping by their side, though each of those were powerful in and of themselves, but playing with them and watching these sweet girls just be girls.

After worship, they led us up to their rooms where they proceeded to drill us with questions. How old are you? Do you have children? Are you in “University”?  In return, we asked their names and ages. Most were 15-18, though the youngest was 13.  One of the girls noticed my Red Thread bracelet. She was weaving bracelets tied on her bedpost. She smiled and asked, “You wear in America?” I told her “yes”. Suddenly, a group of excited girls crowded around, inspecting my bracelet, trying to figure out if it was one they had personally made.

I smiled and told them there were many people in the US that wore their bracelets to remember to pray for them and so that others would know about them. I then showed the girls pictures of others wearing their Red Thread bracelets (Thank you to everyone that sent them in!). They loved it. You would have thought it was Christmas morning from their excitement!

After we finished looking at pictures, I was called down to get fitted for my Nepali suit, a traditional outfit of Nepal. A dozen girls followed me down. As I am quite a bit taller and larger than a typical Nepalese woman, they found the display and my commentary to be quite funny, their laughter filling the small room. In their culture, my size is considered beautiful (loved that!).

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Most of the girls are behind the camera. I’m trying to be still and not laugh while she’s taking my measurements.

As we were finishing up, I noticed one of the girls happily singing to herself. I asked “Singer?” The others replied, “Dancer!” to which the girl proceeded to show me a little Nepali dance. Here’s where it gets good. She then asked ME to try it. Alright. Why not? So I watched her again and tried to replicate her moves. All the girls giggled and smiled. Then she asked me to show her some American moves. Unprepared, I busted out the Macarena.  She became even more excited (a feat I didn’t think would be possible) and wanted me to show her again so she can try it. We went back and forth like this, her showing me more Nepali moves and me showing her Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, the Chicken Dance, I’m a Little Tea Pot, and a good old-fashioned Texas line dance. More of the girls joined in, laughing and twirling, dancing barefoot across the floor. What a perfectly normal scene: girls just being girls.


Trip to Nepal

Trip to Nepal

Red Thread Movement and Eternal Threads are going to Nepal!

Linda Egle, Founder of Eternal Threads, Breahna Jordan, Red Thread Movement Director, and Abby Youngblood, Eternal Thread’s employee, will be traveling to Nepal August 28 – September 6. They will be visiting K.I.Nepal’s operations and spending time with the rescued girls. They will also interview multiple KIN staff members. Abby will stay in Nepal for nine months helping our partner and creating a more holistic counseling program with the house mothers.

To follow the trip, as well as Abby’s extended stay, subscribe to our blog! In the meantime, we want to hear from you! Send us questions you’d like to have answered to staff@redthreadmovement.org!


Wear This Not That

Wear This Not That

There is a myth out there stating that Fair Trade products are overpriced, low quality items. Let’s examine these two outfits. The one on the left is all Fair Trade while the one on the right is comprised of products from companies that have been accused of using sweatshop labor. Both outfits contain a chiffon top, a crocheted headband, a flower clip, a pair of brass earrings, a metal floral bangle, and red leather sandals.

 

Myth #1: Fair Trade items are more expensive than their counterparts.

The Fair Trade outfit costs $140.00 while the Sweatshop outfit costs $200.00. Fair Trade products are, for the most part, priced competitively to their sweatshop counterparts. How can that be? Fair Trade cuts out the middle man (or middle men in most cases), working closely with artisans to ensure you get a good price and the artisan receives a fair wage. Fair Trade seeks to create a sustainable income for its artisans, which would not be possible if the items were overpriced. Customers would not buy the products and in turn the company would not order more. Fair Trade companies want to have a steady supply coming in and going out.

 

Myth #2: Fair Trade items are lower quality than their counterparts.

Fair Trade indicates that it was hand-crafted by an artisan. Take the Eternal Threads headband: it was crocheted by a woman in India. For generations, women in India have passed down this skill, and the work is unsurpassed. Second, Fair Trade means that there are no harmful chemicals used in the making of the products. The Red Thread Movement tank is made using organic cotton and the headband and hairclip is dyed using natural dyes which stay better than their counterparts. Finally, Fair Trade indicates that every material used to make it is ethically sourced. This results in knowing exactly what a product is made of as well. For instance, the Gaiam bangle bracelet is made of brass, but the Macy’s bangle bracelet says it’s made of “mixed metals,” whatever that means.

Overall, Fair Trade products are competitively priced and of a higher quality than their sweatshop counterparts. Fair Trade is fair for all, INCLUDING the consumer. Remember that next time you are looking for a new addition to your wardrobe.

Red Thread Movement Yellow Floral Chiffon/Cotton Tank ($18.00)People Tree Cropped Button Leggings in Black ($38.00), Eternal Threads Red Crocheted Lace Headband ($6.00), Eternal Threads Gold Crocheted Flower Hairclip ($5.00), Eternal Threads Brass Xee Earrings ($12.00)Gaiam Bastille Bracelet ($16.00), SoleRebels Red Fauna Sandal ($60.00)


Bought At A Price

Bought At a Price

Congratulations! You got a great deal while shopping today! First, it was inexpensive to start, but with the in-store sale and your 20% of coupon, you paid next to nothing! They practically gave it to you! What a deal! What a steal!

We often talk, or even brag, about our bargain finds. Unfortunately, someone probably paid dearly for that low price. A little boy that should be in school spent his day picking the cotton, a man in slavery, working with toxic chemicals, dyed the fabric, and a teenage girl spent over 12 hours in a hazardous factory, all so that you could get a good deal. That “steal” steals innocence, childhoods, freedom, and ultimately lives. We rarely think of the consequences of our purchasing decisions.

What if, instead, we focused on the person behind the product? This outfit is entirely comprised of ethical clothing, and each piece has a story:

The headband and brooch were hand-crocheted in India by women who, because they receive Fair Trade wages, are able to provide for their families’ needs. The bracelet and tank top were made by Nepalese girls in a safe house who have been rescued from human trafficking and are now learning to sew so that they can go back to their villages to start businesses. The jeans are made in Liberia, by women working to provide for their families and earning a sustainable income. Finally, the sandals are made by high school graduates in Uganda and provide employment during the 9 month gap between high school and university so that they can earn and save enough money to pay for college tuition.

Your purchase of this particular outfit directly and positively affected the lives of at least six women and indirectly affects countless others both in the near future and for generations to come. For $156.00, you can make a difference AND have a cute new outfit; have your cake and eat it too so to speak. And that, my friends, is a sweet deal!

Red Thread Movement Red Floral Chiffon/Cotton Tank ($18.00), Prana Capri Blue Kara Jean ($75.00), Eternal Threads Teal Crocheted Lace Headband ($6.00), Eternal Threads Cream Crocheted Flower Brooch ($5.00), Red Thread Movement Bracelet ($3.00), Sseko Designs Black Sandal ($49.00)