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In which Bennah is a woman of valour (+ a giveaway with tukula)

Thanks for entering! Giveaway has ended.

meet bennah

bennahAs tukula‘s first artisan, Bennah has been the heartbeat of our group from the very beginning.

When we met Bennah she was living alone in a room the size of most people’s walk in closets. Every morning she would wake up, put her mattress against the wall and begin her day sewing. For months, we worked together on making a line of bags and accessories that we were proud of. During those months something rare happened – Bennah became a part of our family. We watched as she got married, we held her first child when he was just born, and we rejoiced as she moved into a 2 bedroom house. After working with tukula for a year and a half Bennah was able to provide for herself and save for her children.

But just when she thought she was moving forward, Bennah became ill and was physically unable to sit at her machine and sew.  Tragically, Bennah’s husband didn’t want to help her or their child (Jacob) and he started abusing her. Even when she began to feel better, her husband would not allow her to go back to work yet he continued refusing to help pay for her and Jacob’s needs.

Bennah worked up the courage to reach out for help from her fellow tukula co-workers. After a period of time, Bennah was able to move into her own home with her tukula savings and started sewing again, allowing her, a newly single mother of two, to care for her son and new daughter, Deborah.  She is bold and intelligent, and we can’t imagine tukula without her!

Abusive husbands, lack of money for medical needs, and caring for children alone are just some of the issues women in Uganda face on a daily basis. Tukula works to combat these issues by providing consistent income, quality health care, savings programs for their children, and encouraging work environment, and a loving community.

tukula

Tukula (meaning “we grow”) is an accessories line based in Jinja, Uganda. We hire young women who are trained as seamstresses but aren’t able to find consistent work. Along with a fair wage these women receive medical care, an encouraging work environment, and access to savings programs. In addition to our full time employees, we provide paid internships for women who are on the verge of dropping out of sewing school so that they can continue with their studies and receive a job immediatly after graduating. By relieving the pressure of school fees, medical fees, and daily expenses, these ladies are able to walk with confidence and joy.
fireflytote

giveaway

We’re giving away one Firefly Tote bag - made by Bennah – from tukula!

Leave a comment on this post with your favourite item from the tukula shop and you’ll be entered to win.

The winner will be selected randomly on Monday 27 May 2013.

US or Canadian mailing addresses only, please.

 

 

 

Continue Reading · giveaway, social justice, women, work · 97

In which it is beautiful (a bit of poetry + a giveaway)

CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU!

Out of Nothing | Sarah D. Park

 

Out of Nothing

The ruts in our gravel road
weren’t there from the start.
When first laid, the road
was long, flat, and straight,
a mixture of awkward
and often sharp river rock
at the base, with finer pebbles
on top, to even out the surface.

But little stones yield easily
to the tires of trucks and cars.
They spray onto the weedy edges
and thread their way between
stray spears of roadside grass —
leaving a furrowed wake
to mark the frequent passage
of our wheels.

As I drove down it again today,
my tires slipping into these tracks,
it struck me that my mind
operates in the same way —
my thoughts incline along
a certain route, and with time
and repetition, grind out grooves
that direct my mental course.

And what if, little by little,
I have wired my neural paths
to join the well-worn causeway
of a belief that is really a lie?
I see the self-delusions of others
all around me — common as the grit
of our road, seeping in the cracks
between the bulkier stones —

yet it’s much harder
to name them in my own psyche.
Sometimes it takes a collision
of my habitual patterns of thought
with the solid wall of what really is —
to curb my harebrained trailblazing
through the wasteland
of what isn’t.

I hit this wall recently,
and faced a lie my mind had made —
only it wasn’t like a grain of sand
to be dusted off my feet at the door.
It was a deep channel through which
all my mental circuitry flowed,
diverted from a former panoply
of paths.

What a variety of ways exist
to unravel yarn caught in a knot!
But I’d come to trust in the quick fix:
just buy a new skein.
An efficient form of problem-solving,
to purchase a solution —
ready to apply to my predicament,
ready to make me happy again.

I’d look at any hindrance
and imagine how money could step in
and collar it, bludgeon it into silence.
I’d survey all my wants and wounds,
and conclude that money, like a salve,
could remedy them all —
filling every hole —
down to the smallest pock.

It may be correct
that money greases hinges —
and who doesn’t want all doors
to open without protest?
But there are times when it seems
as if the doors ahead are stuck fast,
and there’s not a dime in sight
to help pry them wide.

That’s when, at last,
I see it for the lie that it is.
I still have to get from here to there —
but not through that door,
nor by those ruts in the road.
I feel my brain stretch and flex:
I will park the car
and walk into the woods,

let the path of my thoughts
splinter down unused trails
marked by sweat and ingenuity;
I’ll take up the sacrament of elbow grease,
and I’ll pray —
not to the god of mammon,
but to the one who likes to make
something out of nothing.

 

Sarah Dunning Park, 2013

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Sarah Dunning Park is an artist and poet living in rural Virginia.

And her slim volume of poetry for mothers of small children was one of my favourite books of 2012. I like to read it when the tinies are in the bathtub, splashing, because she’s singing my life with her words. Each poem is makes me smile and cry, because sometimes it’s just so nice to have someone else say out loud the underwhelming and utterly normal and yet beautiful moments of this season of life. This book isn’t a wallow and it isn’t an ecstasy, it’s poetry about the beautiful realities and hard dreams of mothering.

Sarah wrote:

I love when a poem reaches in and grabs my life by the throat, and says, “Pay attention! There’s this thing in your world, and it’s called beauty. You’re not even noticing!”

But I also dislike the complicated world of Poetry-with-a-capital-P: the kind you need a degree to appreciate or that seems like it’s just out to appall you.

Maybe you’re with me on this—and maybe, like me, you still want to find what’s poetic about your life and your kitchen sink filled with dirty dishes and old bread crusts.

To be entered to win your own copy of What It Is Is Beautiful: Honest Poems for Mothers of Small Children by Sarah Dunning Park, just leave a comment on this post sharing your own favourite poet or poem (along with an email address in case you win).

What It Is Is Beautiful

image source

Continue Reading · book review, books, giveaway, poetry · 60

In which iSanctuary rescues human trafficking victims (+ a giveaway!)

iSanctuary is a social enterprise which employs young women rescued from human trafficking in both India and the US through the production and sale of fashion jewelry.
WEB-NecklaceDiagram7

iSanctuary’s employs girls in India, ages 15-25, who have been rescued from the commercial sex trade and taught the skill of making beautiful handmade jewelry.

These young women are paid double the fair trade wage, enabling them to become self-sufficient once they transition out of the shelters, and allowing them to re-gain a sense of dignity, self-worth, and hope. iSanctuary also provides medical assistance, education, skills training, life skills, leadership opportunities, and financial stability to the survivors they work with. iSanctuary also started a program in the United States for victims of human trafficking, which consists of professional training, computer skills, building job history and references, positive experiences with authority, and developing self-sufficiency.

Over the course of five years they’ve been able to serve over 200 women as part of their dream to end human trafficking. Eshet chayil!

To bring awareness to their work, iSanctuary would like to give one of my readers a Barbed Wire Bangle. The Barbed Wire Bangle is both neutral, yet eye-catching. It’s simple, brass look makes it a great addition to any outfit, while it’s fun, spiraling design gives it that extra something. Pair it with any look, from cocktails to casual. (And it was handmade by survivors of human trafficking.)

Barbed_Wire_Brass_3_i1

Giveaway!

To enter to win, visit the iSanctuary shop and then leave a comment on this post telling us which one is your favourite item. (Please make sure your comment includes a way for me to get in touch with you if you win! Email address is fine.)

I’ll choose a winner randomly. Giveaway closes on 31 January 2013.

Learn more about iSanctuary here.

 

All images courtesy of iSanctuary. 

 

Continue Reading · giveaway, social justice · 74

In which I made something for you (well, one of you)

GIVEAWAY closed. The winner is Amanda of Life.Edited. Thank you everyone for your comments – what a delight!

Some days, the Internet feels like this.

Yesterday was one of those days. (It also felt sorta like this.)

So.

I made something recently. It’s a simple cowl. I’m not the best knitter in the world, but I thought it would be fun to give away because the colours are so lovely and it’s so soft.

simple cowl

Leave a comment about something wonderful or funny or delightful. Perhaps a link, perhaps a story, perhaps just something nice you heard or saw.

I’ll choose a winner randomly from your comments on Saturday.

 

 

Continue Reading · giveaway · 99