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?”
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.
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!
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
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.