This month we did things a little differently, which made for a very special box. There was one higher priced item in it, made by a group of survivors of human trafficking, living locally.These women are on the road to recovery after being rescued out of horrific situations.
The women got together and all worked on stringing these necklaces together as a group. They brought their children, who laughed and played in the background while the women worked and visited with each other, growing friendships and cultivating a sense of community.
The necklaces were made with semiprecious stones that were donated by a very generous local jeweler. The styles varied, and the stones ranged from Jade to Tiger’s Eye, or Roe Quartz and Amethyst.
World Relief High Point works with these survivors and helps provide aftercare, job training, and job placement among many other services. I want to share one woman’s story, and some facts about human trafficking…
“I was transported to Florida, and one of the bosses told me I would be working in a brothel as a prostitute. I told him he was mistaken and that I was going to be working in a restaurant. He said I owed him a smuggling debt, and the sooner I paid it off the sooner I could leave. I was constantly guarded and abused. If any of the girls refused to be with a customer, we were beaten. If we adamantly refused, the bosses would show us a lesson by raping us brutally. We worked six days a week, 12 hours a day. Our bodies were sore and swollen. If anyone became pregnant we were forced to have abortions. The cost of the abortion was added to the smuggling debt. I was enslaved for several months; other women were enslaved for up to a year. Our enslavement finally ended when law enforcement raided the brothels and rescued us.”
- Brothels, farms, homes, factories and restaurants are just some of the places that slavery may be found today
- There are an estimated 29.8 million people enslaved around the world
- Human trafficking produces approximately 32 billion dollars in revenues annually
- Worldwide, 2 children are sold into slavery every minute
- In the US, there are over 100,000 children in forced prostitution or pornography
- Among the states, North Carolina has the 12th highest rate of calls to the national human trafficking hotline
To learn more and to see how you can get involved in the fight against human trafficking, please visit www.worldreliefhighpoint.org/human-trafficking
One of the items in this month’s box is a print of a painting done by a local survivor. The beautiful pink tree is breathtaking, but when you hear the story behind it, it becomes even more special. The artist was a survivor living in a shelter. While she was there, processing the events that led her to that place, she was filled with negativity and hurtful thoughts. She did not know how to overcome them and not let them consume her. Her case worker brought her some watercolor paints in order to help her have an artistic outlet to her pain and frustration. She did not know if the artwork was good or not, but she could not find another way to describe her feelings while living in the shelter. This slowly became an outlet that brought peace… for her, art is therapy.
“I love beautiful things on the earth but I was struggling in my situation and confused about the way people treat each other. So till now during my spare time, I keep this habit.”
This month, our featured artisan is the bright and cheerful Syrian woman who made the gourmet chocolates in this month’s box. Growing up in Syria, she loved making and decorating cookies and chocolates, so she decided to go to school to learn more. After saving up her money, she bought all the equipment she needed to start her own business and opened up a shop where she made and sold chocolates, cookies, and other delicious and decorative treats. After fleeing her country for safety, she arrived in the U.S. where she now works in a different field to help support her family. Although she loves working, she misses having a career that allowed her to do what she loves. Here in America, she continues to make her gourmet sweets and chocolates for baby showers, weddings, and parties whenever an opportunity arises.
These beautiful etched wooded spoons were decorated by a very sweet friend of mine, a woman from India whose Henna designs I have always been impressed by. She learned the art of Henna design while studying at a boarding school in India. She has been in the United States for 2 and a half years, and came to be reunited with her mother that she had not seen for over 13 years. She now works full time with refugees as they are being resettled here and loved the opportunity to create these for Anchor of Hope’s January box.
Thank you to everyone who answered our question… What would you like to see in the upcoming boxes? We had some great answers and are working towards fulfilling those wishes!
And like we promised, one lucky winner would win a gift from us. We compiled all the names from the Facebook posts and blog and the winner is…. Frankie Paddington!
She has won a beautiful wrap bracelet made by one of our artisans from Syria.
Thanks to everyone who entered!
Happy New Year from Anchor Of Hope Box! Thank you to everyone who made 2015 a year to remember. We launched our subscription box service and was able to serve many refugees and survivors of human trafficking through your subscriptions.
And now we would love to hear from you! Tell us your favorite things from the boxes you have received, and what items you would love to see in the boxes in the future. Even if you are not a subscriber, just daydream with us… what items do you think would be nice to receive in the boxes?
We will pick one lucky winner to receive a gift from us… winner announced 1-14-16.
Enter by commenting below! Good luck! 🙂
So I made a new friend the other day. Frewhini. She invited me over to her house to show me the items she makes, to see if we can put them in the Anchor Of Hope Box. I’m always excited to meet a new artisan! I arrive at her home, after only getting lost once, and her son meets me at the door. He is so polite. I come in, she serves me Ethiopian coffee….. oh my goodness. How will I ever go back to my normal coffee now? This is too delicious. She tells me that she gets the bean from her country, and she roasts it herself, but does it outside, because the smell is so strong it fills the whole neighborhood. I would like to be around for that! I ask her where she is from and she tells me Eritrea. I smile politely like I know where that is, but I don’t of course. She catches on. “Have you heard of Eritrea?” “I have heard of it but am not familiar with where it is located”, I reply, which is truth. She tells me it is next to Ethiopia. They were the same country until 23 years ago (there you go, a free history lesson for you). She lived there, during the war, but wasn’t able to go to school because of it. So when she arrived here, she didn’t speak the language and was uneducated. Two women befriended her, and invited her to join them at their church, and visit with them in their homes. “I don’t know why,” she tells me “because I didn’t speak the language. But this is how I learned. They would hold my children and let me sit with them and I learned. This is how I know English now.” The kindness of these women’s hearts. I love it.
That’s a great reminder that how we treat people can have a huge impact. In this case, a beautifully positive one.
Frewhini taught me how to make himbasha, an Eritrean bread. Her recipe is going to be featured in the November box, along with some spices that she roasts and grinds herself. More on that to come….