This was the Trip of the Butterfly….and new Beginnings.
........from the many stunningly beautiful, colourful butterflies who flitted amongst our group,
to the discussions we shared together on the long journeys about the life lessons to be learned…….
Did you know that if you were to help ease out the emerging butterfly struggling from its chrysalis, that you would destroy it, robbing it of the means to gain the strength needed to unfold its wings and fly.
The struggle creates the strength to spread the wings and fly!!!!!!!
What a wonderful symbol of Hope to those who struggle everywhere………
(and a reminder to any who wish to help to consider the possible effects of some well-intentioned acts????)
Da Mo village in Jingxi, remote and beautiful, next to the Vietnam border is home to about 350 people from the Miao ethnic minority. I have visited it in my heart many times, watching DVDs of Matthew's trips there to help the girls, holding my breath as the van lurches down the treacherous mountain road, feeling the excitement of the children waiting below for their friends to arrive, the extreme poverty of the basic living conditions, the joy of the children singing and playing together, the hard work of the women struggling to make ends meet in this remote place of beauty and wonder, the bright colourful, hand-embroidered Miao costumes, the dedication and commitment of the teacher who earns £20 a month… I could go on forever…..but this trip we finally made the journey ourselves!!!!!!
We will share about our experiences there later, but for now we just wanted to share one thing which has lain on our heart………
Our friend Shelley helped to set up this wonderful programme with Matthew in 2007? to help and support the girls to go to school.
As Hope4China first started supporting girls there at Primary school, some of them progressed so well that they became the very first girls in the village to travel outside the village to Longban Middle school. This was a major achievement for them, giving them hope for the future….or was it?
Some struggled to fit in, had a hard time from the other kids who looked down on them as Miao. We have been working to help build up confidence and encourage them…but what is progress…surely it is choice?
The choice to stay in the village they love, but also be able to do something meaningful and earn a good living.
We did not have to teach skills – the Da Mo women already have the skills!!!!!
We just needed a team to help bring these amazing skills to the world……….
Through Hope4China this team has emerged……….
A US friend and a special lady in our church have given money for Da Mo to help set up a project,
to “make a difference” there
and a new friend in China with her skills has helped to bring it all together.
I must stop now and let Paula tell you about The Butterfly Project
"The “Big Desert” Da Mo, village of about 350 people has birthed the “Butterfly Project”.
Six women met to begin a business for Hope4China producing dolls dressed in their traditional Miao costumes to be sold internationally.
Each woman was given seed money from Hope4China and Shelley to buy material and supplies. They were also given a month to produce a prototype doll to decide if they wanted to pursue the idea as a long term business. The answer was quickly given by some of the girls upon my month return. Sixteen beautifully dressed dolls were carefully wrapped in bags waiting for me!
The dolls were not proportionally cute or marketable, however their gifting was revealed in the doll’s outfits. Each doll costume was uniquely crafted with amazing detail in beading and embroidery.
Another organization who works with the deaf community is instead making the dolls. The Hearts and Hands dolls were dressed perfectly with the village outfits and sent off to Scotland where they will raise money for the women and village scholarship fund. Future dolls will be taken to the village for the women to “dress” in their costumes. They will personally earn money for their costume handwork, but also impact their community through the sale of the dolls.
You can learn more about this project at www.hope4china.com and on their blog at http://hope4china.blogspot.com/. You can also learn more about the organization serving the deaf community at heartsandhandschina.com. They have a lovely catalog to purchase handicraft items.
It is an honor to work with these wonderful people and to partner with organizations. My desire is to walk along side others instead of reinventing the wheel. The traditional costumes of this village have a little “butterfly wing” on the back. It is so fitting that the Butterfly Project should begin here in the Big Desert."
So we now have the first dolls
ready for sale for Christmas!!!!!!!
ready for sale for Christmas!!!!!!!
This is a unique oppurtunity to buy these lovely dolls, dressed in completely authentic Miao costumes designed and handsewn by the Miao women of Da Mo village.
It is impossible to capture in a photo the exquisite embroidery and detail on the outfit.
Each one is different - one of a kind!
And the joy of this gift is that it is also a gift to the women of Da Mo who will receive the proceeds of the sales to help them and their community.The dolls are available NOW
for £25, 30 euros, $40, plus shipping.
We expect these first dolls to go fast, so get your orders in quick for Christmas :-)
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to order your doll now!