I find it oddly exciting when friends from different parts of my universe collide -- especially when they don't even know it's happening. Today it's Meredith, Liz and Lynette. Meredith gave me a beautiful pair of beaded 'barefoot sandals', I think for my 40th birthday, partly because she thought I'd like them, but also because she suspected I would copy the idea and make other pairs myself. She was right.
Liz has ordered many pairs of barefoot sandals from me since then. Unfortunately her last order was a bit of a disaster. It was a last minute project at Christmas time, and although my girls and I worked diligently, the elastic thread we had in the house just wasn't sturdy enough, so that when Liz got her stash of sandals down to St. Lucia, they broke. All of them.
Being among the most gracious people I know, rather than insisting that we remake them all, Liz chose to be inspired by this blog and asked me to make a donation on her behalf to 'something for industrious girls' because, as she said, "Sometimes there are budding entrepreneurs all over the world who make things and they just don't work."
Lynette was one of the first people to make a suggestion to this blog. (It is, after all, our week to give to a place that you have brought to my attention.) I'd never heard of the organization, but was delighted to learn more. It's called One Hen, and here's how it describes itself:
"One Hen creates educational programs that teach elementary school children about global issues and equip them to be changemakers. Our mission is to help children become global citizens who succeed in school and beyond and who marry that success to helping others, by instilling in them the values of financial responsibility, personal initiative, global awareness and giving back."
As a mom, curriculum developer, educator, world citizen and lover of the African music that permeates their website, I was hooked.
One Hen also links donors to various international organizations that provide microloans to entrepreneurs. The Grameen Bank was a pioneer in this field, and through their Foundation, they have a Pioneer Fund that targets support to mothers and daughters.
There's another connection. On the One Hen website, kids can play games. When they catch fish, for example, they win beads, and those beads are translated into real life donations to entrepreneurs in places like Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana and Columbia.
So here's to good friends from high school, book club and the neighbourhood. And here's to the beads! The ones that fell off Liz's feet, and the ones that will multiply the efforts of women all over the world. Liz's gift has gone to the Mother and Daughter fund of Grameen Foundation today, and the money she gave my girls and I for the defective sandals is funding two students to attend the One Hen academy.