The necklaces are complete, on US soil and ready for sale.
This necklace was designed to assist young girls aging out of the orphanage system. (remember this post?) Supplies were shipped to the girls, who then created each necklace by hand. I had the opportunity to meet them while in Addis. What an AMAZING group of young women!
and now for the sales pitch...
Number one and most importantly...all proceeds benefit these girls and the Gladney On Their Own project (providing life skills to older girls aging out of the system) throughout Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
Number two...they're not mass produced, which gives such a special background to the project. The girls who benefit from the sale of each necklace are the same girls who assembled them (with much excitement and professionalism I might add!).
Lastly...they are very versatile depending on the recipient. I added an "E" to mine, signifying Ethiopia and wore often during our wait. I'll now be adding Niko's birthstone and probably an "N". (note the hidden messaging there with the birthstone reference, making for a great holiday gift for grandmothers, sisters, friends and mothers everywhere)
Our original plan was to create a design that reaches beyond the adoption community, making it possible to maximize the fundraising for these young women. A charm necklace seemed to work best and reach a wide audience.
I was a bit nervous as Kai & I walked into the Kechene shop in Addis. None of us spoke the same language and I wanted so much to introduce myself and chat with these amazing women. They stared back at me as I oddly mimed various design motions (not easy). I then pointed to my necklace. There was a sudden burst of squeals, smiles and they were rushing forward with loads of hugs. We all began speaking at the same time as if we all now understood each other. It was very humbling and such an honor to spend time with the girls.
The On Their Own mission statement
to older, unadopted orphaned children served by Gladney Center for Adoption
in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America
to prepare them for a safe, self-sufficient life on their own.
On Their Own provides support for the Kechene Women's Association, an organization of young women who have "aged out," of the Kechene Children's Home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
There are few opportunities for these orphaned young women once they have been released from government care. Most seek low-level service industry work in Ethiopia and Middle Eastern countries, but pay is extremely low and such work is dangerous in countries with few women’s rights and no citizenship protection. Unfortunately, many fall back on prostitution to provide for themselves.
The young women of Kechene need life-skills to navigate the world, earn a living and use money wisely. They need to learn how to set goals based on safe choices, self-sufficiency, and self-esteem. They need a future that offers a chance for a long, productive, and happy life.
Your purchase of this beautiful necklace supports life-skills programs for the Kechene Women's Association. Every dollar dedicated to On Their Own is stewarded by the Gladney Center for Adoption, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization, to ensure the funds are invested in empowerment projects for orphaned children.
To learn more about the Kechene Women's Association and Gladney's programs for orphans around the world, please visit Gladney's website http://www.adoptionsbygladney.com/