As we launched Fashion & Compassion this fall, an extraordinary opportunity presented itself. It was clearly inspired by God because all of the pieces just happened to fall into place perfectly...
First, I asked a friend who was traveling to Ethiopia to visit an orphanage for abandoned children if he would buy me some Ethiopian Coptic Crosses from the market - I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to use them for, but I had a feeling something was on the horizon.
The following week, I traveled to Dallas to visit the offices of our partner, ALARM (African Leadership & Reconciliation Ministries). The paper beads and baskets we sell are made by women who are part of ALARM micro-finance projects in Uganda and Rwanda. They had a load of loose beads they had no use for, so I offered to purchase them.
When I retuned to Charlotte, my friend Antonia “Neet” Childs of Neet’s Sweets told me that she had just hired a secretary, Cassandra, who also designs jewelry. Neet works with young girls who have been trapped in sexual exploitation in Charlotte. As gainful employment is a key to overcoming the lifestyle, Neet is always looking for employment opportunities for the girls. The final piece of the puzzle was now in place.
Cassandra brought the girls in and showed them how to use the paper beads from Uganda, the crosses from Ethiopia and other elements to design beautiful necklaces. A beautiful motherly friend, Beverly, also joins the girls as they make the necklaces, providing a listening ear, encouraging words and lots of prayer. The result has been 100 unique & beautiful Freedom necklaces and earrings! Each component of the necklace has been made with dignity and any profits from the sales of the necklaces are split between the orphanage in Ethiopia, the ALARM project in Uganda and Neet’s work with victims of exploitation in Charlotte.
If you are one of the fortunate owners of a Freedom necklace - wear it proudly and let it be a reminder to pray for the women whose hands and hearts created it.
Click HERE to purchase one of the pieces from The Freedom Project.