Last week we held a graduation for our core group of jewelry artisans. The Mi Esperanza jewelry studio and classroom has always functioned a little differently from all of our other classes. We began with a couple of women and taught specific skills with a specific product in mind. As skills increased, the complexity of the designs increased. We didn’t have a “jewelry 101” class followed by a graduation. Rather, it was training that led to employment.
After several years of learning new skills and building on old ones, it was time for the women to graduate! We were all very excited to gather and celebrate all that they had learned and what it meant for their families.
As I began sharing how proud I was of all of them, my eyes rested on a sample board for one of our design partners. This board was filled with very complex designs that not so long ago were out of reach for these women. With perseverance and a desire to excel, they have risen to the task and grown so much. There is very little, from a jewelry training perspective that is out of reach for them now!
A couple of weeks ago, I was given the honor of teaching a small group of teenaged girls the basics of jewelry making. They live in a local home for orphaned, abandoned and trafficked girls. We had a lovely time of beading and crimping and laughing and learning. I loved watching how these girls opened up and gained confidence in themselves just from learning a new skill and realizing they can be good at something.
As this class was going on, we were joined in the studio by a trio of my students turned artisans for Mi Esperanza who were working on samples for a U.S. label we produce jewelry for. From time to time, these women would stop to help one of the young girls, and to encourage them.
I love seeing how free they are with their gifts.
This week, these skilled jewelry artisans ( and a few more) are back in the studio producing the Fall line for that same U.S. label and it is exciting for me to see the complexity of the designs they are making with such ease and skill.
Education is the heart of Mi Esperanza and we are thrilled to be able to offer jewelry training and employment to the women of Honduras. As these women continue their education and employment with us, I am gratified to know that the generational cycle of poverty is being broken in their families. This is why we do what we do. And it brings us great joy to continue.