Are You In?

God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house.

God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both of their lives.

God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war.

God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and

God is with us if we are with them.

Bono, Lead Singer, U2

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Child Labor Perpetuates Cycle of Poverty

Not only does child labor lead to a perpetual cycle of poverty for a family, it also depresses the economy. A study by the ILO (International Labor Organization) found that it would cost $760 billion to end child labor, but the benefits to the economy would be more than six times that–an estimated $5.1 trillion in economies where child laborers are found. –GoodWeave International (GWI)

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Exchanging One Misery For Another

 

“Women and girls may themselves take the initiative to migrate in the hope of earning a decent income, escaping a miserable life, or supporting a family back home. In such cases, they are sometimes aware that they are going to work in commercial sex, considering this to be an acceptable short-term remedy to a desperate need to earn a living. They very rarely, however, are aware of the nature of the demands that will be made upon them, the conditions in which they are likely to be held, or the possible long-term repercussions of the activity.” International Labor Organization (ILO)

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Operation Christmas Child: Love in a Shoebox

 

There are little girls all across the world who fall asleep hungry, sad, lonely and feeling unloved.  Poverty, hunger or neglect tend to do that. The joy that should accompany their young lives is missing, along with smiles on their faces and contentment in their hearts.  And when the sun comes up the next morning, life is the same as the day before.

Samaritan’s Purse has developed a very special program called Operation Christmas Child.  The mission is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way to needy children around the world. It allows people like you and me a chance to reach out to little girls like these, and show them that they are not forgotten, that someone somewhere really does care, and that there is hope for a brighter tomorrow!

And in a such a brilliantly simple way: a shoebox. Yes, a shoebox!

 HOW IT WORKS

love & joy!

All you need to do is choose the age of the girl (categories: 2-4, 5-9, or 10-14), print out the appropriate label from the website marking the correct age category on it, fill your girl’s shoebox with small fun and practical items, tape the label to the top of your box, include $7 for shipping costs and then wrap with a rubber band.  You can even tuck in a love note and photo of yourself if you want. (You can drop off at a location, otherwise shoeboxes are accepted at the headquarters location year-round).

Ideas to Get You Started…

  • Small Toys (dolls, musical items, stuffed animals, jump ropes, flashlights, balls)
  • School Supplies (pens, pencils, books, writing pads, sharpeners, solar calculators)
  • Art Supplies (crayons, colored pencils, stickers, stamps & ink pads, coloring books)
  • Personal Items & Candy (t-shirts, hair accessories, jewlery, socks, hats,  sunglasses, hard candy & gum)
  • Hygiene Items ( toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, washcloth, hairbrush or combs)

There are over 100,000 volunteers supporting Operation Christmas Child in the U.S. and more than 8 million shoeboxes were collected and distributed to needy children last year!

Wonder if a little shoebox could really make an impact on someone across the world? 

One woman who received a shoebox as an orphaned child says, “Living in an orphanage with 550 kids where there is never enough love and never enough of anything else can be lonely.  You don’t have many people that you really want to share yourself with.  I kept wondering why a little girl from far away who doesn’t even know me, would care enough to give such a beautiful gift to a girl like me.”

There are countless stories of how one little shoebox traveled around the world and touched a child’s life forever.  

It’s amazing how such a little love gift can make such a big (and lasting) love impact. And it’s even more fun to get creative with your friends, family or at a group event by packing shoeboxes together!  The result?  Smiling faces, content hearts and a glimmer of hope for brighter days ahead.

As promised, I will be highlighting organizations throughout the remainder of the year that offer unique ways to give the gifts of love, joy and hope to women and girls in need. Share the true spirit of Christmas and, spread the love… Tell a friend! 

Learn more about Operation Christmas Child online at www.samaritanspurse.org  or, call 800-353-5949 for more information.

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

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Just Cards Direct: Providing Justice, Dignity and Hope for Disadvantaged Women


Just Cards Direct – The Vision
Once in awhile a story comes along about people who get together and dream about how to help other people live better. This is one of those stories. In 2007, a group of friends who shared a common interest—a heart for the poor and disadvantaged—began thinking and talking about opportunity and possibility, and out of that place, a dream was birthed to create handmade greeting cards.

Coupling their creativity with their desire to advocate and make a tangible difference in the lives of others less fortunate, they began to plot out their vision. Soliciting the use of their prayers, hearts and hands to guide in the process, their vision began to take shape, and before they knew it–Just Cards Direct became a reality.

Just Cards doesn’t just sell greeting cards—the heart of their mission is to help provide justice, dignity and hope for the disadvantaged through the promotion and sales of their handmade treasures. Just Cards imports and sells handmade greetings cards from Africa and printed cards from around the world.

Offering Hope to the Hopeless
Working in partnership with card-making community projects in the developing world, Just Cards helps to provide jobs, self-worth and security to women and children who live under oppressive circumstances. In many cases the cards provide the only income to a widow or an orphan. They practice fair-trade principles and strive to bring hope to those who have been neglected, downtrodden and traumatized.

“Together, may we loose the chains of injustice, untie the cords of the yoke and set the oppressed free.” –Anne Horrobin 
Director, Just Cards Direct Ltd

Supporting Oppressed Women in Africa

The Handicraft Card Project — Rwanda

Just Cards Direct supports two special projects in Rwanda. Cards from Africa employs young people who were orphaned in the 1994 genocide and another that supports widows.

They buy from several banana leaf card-making projects in Rwanda. The cards are made by harvesting banana bark and leaves from the local area, before cutting and shaping them into complex designs portraying local life.

Kipepeo Cards Project — Kenya

In Kenya, Just Cards supports Kipepeo Cards, a project based in Kibera Slum that employs 16 women. Kipepeo Designs cards are handmade by women who live in Kibera using recycled paper.

Karabo Card Project — Mamelodi Township, South Africa

The Karabo Card Project was established in 2007 as a “community upliftment” project in Mamelodi Township, South Africa. The Township is home to 1.5 million people, many of whom are unemployed, and 25% of whom are infected with HIV. The people who work at the project would otherwise have little means of feeding themselves and their families. Materials from soda pop cans and recycled paper are incorporated into their designs.

The name of the project ‘Karabo’, was chosen by the local people. It means ‘answer’ in the local Pedi language. They chose this name as they believe the project was God’s answer to the cry for help which came from their hearts. 

Making a Difference

Just Card’s offers a wide range of high-quality handmade cards from Africa, plus some printed in the UK and Australia, which are available through their website, individual traders, conferences and a number of retail outlets.  

They also give away over 25% of their profits to Christian charities who share their values in providing justice, dignity and hope to disadvantaged women and their families.

Jennifer Brown is a Trader for Just Cards. Originally from South Africa, she understands the oppression of women and the reality for the disenfranchised people who live there. She says:

“I have witnessed the desperate need for employment – work that offers people not only an income to survive but a dignified purpose to their lives. These are beautiful, individually unique cards that are lovingly made by local community projects. It’s nice to know I can make a difference and help by selling them.”

Mother Theresa said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”  Think of creative avenues you may pursue to help oppressed women or disadvantaged children to live better lives. Who knows what dream might unfold as you consider opportunities and possibilities with your heart wide open.

Learn more about Just Cards Direct.  Click here to view and purchase cards

© by April McCallum, Destiny’s Women

(Photos by Just Cards Direct)

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©Destiny's Women™ is a blog founded, written and published by April McCallum -- "Championing the Life, Freedom and Destiny of Women" Creative Commons License
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