I’m so delighted to have Wendy Bird back for a second day to share her heart and vision for Pearls with Purpose.
I love to find gifts that allow me to help someone else…gifts that have a purpose beyond the gift giving. I feel like I’ve found that with Pearls with a Purpose. Be sure to read to the end so that you can participate…because I want to bless one of my readers with one of the necklaces from the collection. I guess you could say I’m putting my money where my mouth is 🙂 And everyone can use the discount code I’ll give you at the end of this post for 20% off your purchases at the website.
Wendy, what role (if any) does faith play in your dream?
Faith encapsulates everything. The women in these developing countries believe the women in America will love, wear, and purchase their jewelry. The volunteers exercise faith as they willingly give their time and talents to help us move forward. It is the faith of the consumer who stops to learn our story, our cause, makes a purchase and then shares that with those they associate with. It is my own personal faith that I resort to when I feel inadequate to the tasks before me.
I can so relate to falling back on faith when you feel inadequate. Can you share a story or two about how this company is helping women?
Being the one who travels, trains and interacts with these deserving women on such personal and frequent levels, I have been privy to hundreds of stories on a first-hand basis. One that stands out is Shanti’s story…here it is:
One of our Pearlologists had left us for another job so we began interviewing for a replacement. Several women had come in before lunchtime, all of them referred by our other workers who were eager to share their good fortune with friends or relatives. That morning each of the women who showed up seemed more bored with life than interested in working. Their husbands had good work with the government or the hospital, one was an AC tech, and each earned about 8k INR per month, which is a pretty decent living in India.
During one of these interviews, a girl came limping into the co-op. She looked young, maybe seventeen or eighteen. Her right leg was held up high as if she was on a ballet point toe. Her knee jutted out and her limp was severe. She walked toward Javits and me and said she was there to interview. Javits asked her to wait until we were done with this interview, so she limped over to a post and leaned against it. When we finished up she came to stand by us and introduced herself as Shanti, which means peace in Tamil. She had a very determined look on her face and something told me she was not going to leave the co-op until she was hired.
She shared that she had two boys, ages eight and four, and was nearly thirty, which blew me away. Her husband was a gypsy of sorts. He biked to a tourist town, Pondicherry, nearly every day to sell bangles. We asked what happened to her leg. She lifted her Sari partially and said, “Accident, bus, tore muscles from leg.” “What age?” I asked. Thirteen. She then explained that there was so much damage she had to drop out of school. Many kids made fun of her. She wasn’t allowed to attend classes. She suffered greatly both physically and emotionally.
But my deep sympathetic feelings were not enough reason to hire her. In that moment I decided to wait and hire someone at my next visit, in April or May. And yet, I couldn’t get over her quiet determination.
I asked more about her husband. “How much does he earn?” She replied 1-2k INR per month ($20-$40). WOW. That was humbling. I wasn’t sure what else to say. Javits then asked her if she had anything she would like to add to the interview, giving her a last chance to promote herself. Suddenly, it was Fantine sitting in front of me, begging for a chance at a good life for her children. A fire came on in her eyes. She spoke rapidly in Tamil, gesturing with her hands, her arms, speaking passionately. Tears threatened to fall as I heard the words “alcohol”, “children starve”, “need-job”, “no money.” Javits was as enraptured as I was with her impassioned speech. When she finished, Javits repeated to me the details of the words I had already understood. “Her husband is an alcoholic. He goes to Pondicherry and returns drunk everyday. He spends all the money he gets; nothing ever reaches her. She begs from neighbors and family for food for her boys, herself, and her mother-in-law who lives with them. She says with this job, she will feed her children and finally have the peace her name always promised her.” She followed up in English, “Please ma’am, I need work.”
I led Shanti to a mat, and showed her the place where she could work everyday so that she could feed herself and her family. Finally, Shanti can find her Peace.
What a gut-wrenching story. What would you say to a woman who has what feels like an impossible dream burbling inside?
I would tell her to follow Winston Churchills advice (which is plastered in numerous places throughout my house)
NEVER NEVER NEVER GIVE UP. Get that dream OUT. That dream is your purpose. There is no road block, no obstacle, nothing that will keep you from achieving it except yourself and your choices.
I love the quote, too! How can women come alongside you to support your vision and Pearls with Purpose?
Women can assist us by being socially minded and purchasing jewelry/gifts that make a REAL difference. We have a new in-home business model called the AccessoRISE program, helping women RISE out of poverty (both in the states and in developing countries). Women can share our stories from FB and our Blog, women can simply tell a friend about us. There are a myriad of ways to be involved. We travel throughout the US promoting the products through various events and are always looking to save on hotels, flights, travel expenses. We need volunteers to help us at these events (they are rewarded with jewelry!!)
Please visit our website or us if there is a talent you possess that can help us move forward. We love ideas from others!
Cara again: As promised, I’m giving away one of Pearls with Purpose necklaces. The one I choose is the Mahel.
I choose this necklace because the women of the Philippines love the American women who buy their necklaces. Here’s what the catalog says: A limited edition coming back with us from Philippines, Mahel means love in Tagalog and that is what this necklace represents to us. Buy this special edition necklace and feed a family on the other side of the world.
I also wanted to support women in the Philippines because of the devastating tsunami last winter. And Pearls with a Purpose allows you to tailor your support to one of the countries. So please spread the word and participate in the raffle!
And as I mentioned above, Pearls with Purpose has graciously agreed to give you, my readers, a special discount. I don’t know about you, but I love shopping with a discount. So here’s the special code: CARA. You plug that in at check-out and will receive 20% off your order. So please go over and take a look at their website. You’ll learn even more about the women this organization helps. And you might find some jewelry you like or for gifts for the teachers, mothers, and friends in your life.