Read There is No Ordinary Joy by Sarah Symons. It is a book about the reality of human trafficking specifically in the India and Nepal regions. While this topic is heavy and heartbreaking and we tend to shy away from reading about these horrific actions taking place NOW, it is also very inspiring to see how one woman and her family took a chance and risked it all to help create ‘normal’ lives for these young girls and women. They started an organization called Made By Survivors (changing to Relevee: ‘to rise up’ in French) which helps these young women become fully independent through jewelry making. Currently there are three centers in India, and over 30 girls learning to make jewelry and become jewelry designers. The beauty of it all as that they are learning to become and love WHO they are through this trade, and regain life again. However, there are a lot of hurdles for them to overcome and truly let go of their very recent past situations. The jewelry they create is so beautiful and has a very personal, meaningful story behind each piece. Check them out here.
Statistics show that there are more slaves today than in any other time period throughout humanity. 29 MILLION SLAVES IN THE WORLD TODAY. While that number seems overwhelming, there are steps we can all do to help. Donations and buying the jewelry are big key pieces, but there are also volunteer trips, getting involved in local organizations, becoming more educated and aware of the human trafficking issues, and sponsoring a young girl through this site. We sometimes think this only happens abroad and we have to be physically there to help, but the reality is that it is happening right in your neighborhood. Get educated. Start with this book. Sign up for their newsletter. And then go buy this amazing jewelry HERE to help this cause and give a beautiful gift to a relative, spouse, friend, neighbor, or stranger in need.
I have had the amazing opportunity to meet and work with Sarah these past weeks when I read about her organization/book in the paper one day. She is a St. Augustine local, so I contacted her via email asking if I could help in any way – I met with both her and her Operations Manager, Robin, and they instantly connected me to volunteering and then allowed me to use my photography passions to take photos of the jewelry. I had so much fun with this particular set below on the beach one day – thank you to Sarah for allowing me to play! And thank you so much to my model, Phaedra, for her very talented yoga pose skills and meeting me bright and early at 6.30AM to do this….a true friend! Follow them on Facebook for more updates, stories, and photos, and if you feel very convicted and want to help, don’t wait! These girls truly need you. Just remember, they are real people like you and me. It could be any of us in that situation…. we are called to help in any that we can.
Also check out RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) if you are interested in going to India with this organization in January 2016 – it would be the best and most life-changing decision you ever make. You can start today by reading the book and buying some pretty jewelry!
Someone pinch me…. I meet the most inspiring people who are changing the world. And I am starting to feel a part of that movement.