With the help of the Liechtenstein Red Cross, this month has seen numerous changes in the Work for Widows program.
We have been able to include an additional 5 ladies from Galle into the jewelry training program. It has allowed us to purchase certain jewelry accessory requirements to keep our designs up to date and ensured that even without any sales of the products, our ladies will receive their salaries for the pieces they have completed. Learning to make jewelry appears to most like a simple process. It seems like you take a bunch of beads and string them onto wire or thread and tie them together.
Trust me, this is not the case. I speak of this from first hand experience for I actually have learned to make the sample pieces that go to the ladies to copy. You can spend hours making one piece only to find one mistake and have to start all over again. Originally, we just gave beads to the ladies and tried to teach them to be creative, realizing quickly that this was not going to work. We thought we would give them a photograph of a necklace and have them copy that. As we arrived to pick up the new pieces and the ladies handed them to us with a smile of achievement – a part of my heart smiled and part of it sunk; for in each bead box was 8 necklaces exactly the same size as the picture! Not big enough for a necklace and too big for a bracelet.
The realization that a full size sample piece needed to be given was confirmed. Now with over 30 ladies making jewelry in 4 different locations, creating samples has become a full time job. The month of April has brought in the New Year for the island and as we finish our final 14 hour journey around the western and southern coastline for the month, delivering the supplies to all of the ladies and paying them for the work they completed, we sit back and realize how fortunate we are each and everyday and how with the generosity of the Liechtenstein Red Cross we have been able to achieve so much.