Since I graduated, the world has been a big adventure for me. Each day I feel as though I am discovering something new, and each day I am beginning to realize just how much there is to know. A huge part of that adventure has been meeting new people, getting to know their work, realizing just how much people need other people, and how much we all stand to learn from one another.
Recently as part of my ‘discovering new things’ I got a little more insight into the refugee community in our country and the efforts being made to assist them. Through a friend, I got to meet a group of Dai women (an ethnic group from Myanmar) who made wire jewellery to sell. They were making the items to sell on Elevyn, an online trading and marketing platform.
The work of Elevyn (pronounced ‘eleven’) was an eye-opener for me. By providing a platform where marginalized communities can sell handmade crafts, Elevyn provides these communities with a way to earn a living. For many refugees, finding work can be an almost impossible task. By working with volunteers, Elevyn provides new skills, education, and resources to these communities, which give them an alternative to the dead ends they face.
|Measuring wire for jewellery |
In meeting the Dai women, I also met Mastura, an expert in wire jewellery (www.whimsicalnquirky.com.my
). She is a regular volunteer who teaches the women wire jewellery techniques and design. The Dai women are one example of a community being taught new skills which are marketable. In some communities, where they have their own traditional crafts, volunteers work with them on designing and creating new products using their traditional techniques.
I took away plenty of inspiration from the work of Elevyn, its volunteers, and the refugee community. Here groups of people working to create something which can provide so much to so many. The work being done will not only give the crafters a means of living, it also provides for their families and the many needs of their communities such as books, emergency funds, educational programs, etc.
It is not too long ago when someone said to me, “you are only as good as those around you”. The statement could mean many things, but in this case, it reminds me that our world is only as good as we make it together. We don’t build the world alone, and we can’t build the world without needing each other.
The world is a big place, and everyday there are inspirational people everywhere doing good work. And while we could choose to either do what we can to contribute or not, I believe that when we choose to do so, our world expands and life becomes so much fuller.
|Green bead ring |
|Cruxifixes and cage inspired bracelets |
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