As the Work for Widows volunteer team prepares a shipment for London in the hopes of selling our wares through our ever faithful volunteers there, I sit with pride this week to tell you how far some of our brave women have come.

When we first started jewelry in the camps in Moratuwa, Balapitiya and Matara; I wondered what would become of them. The women had never been exposed to the western styles of jewelry, they had never seen a Vogue or Elle magazine and yet we were expecting them to be able to make designs required in that world. The first pieces of jewelry will always stay in my heart but will also always stay in the office as no-one would buy them. They were sad small strings of cheap beads mixed together without thought to color coordination, length or design.

Throughout the year many kind-hearted volunteers have spent hours sitting in the hot sun showing the women color wheels, magazines and design. Many have spent their holidays working diligently to produce a necklace geared for the western world. Many times I sat and watch their faces as they looked on in absolute amazement at to what they were being showed how to produce. Many times I heard them giggle and wondered what they really thought of what we might wear these absurd necklaces with.

This week, all the laughter, tears, fun and hard work became concurrent as I stood proudly listening to the master of ceremonies announce that all of the jewelry supplied for the Academy of Design Fashion Show are unique designs made exclusively by the women of Sri Lanka.  The design coordinators and directors of this show are professionals from Italy, Germany, UK and Singapore and my ladies had proven themselves and their work worthy of this class of extravaganza. My only wish was that they could have all been there with me.

So, to all of you that put beads on strings for endless hours over the last year.  Thank you.

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