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Recognizing International Women's Day

March 8 every year is recognized as International Women’s Day. It celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women. It is also a way of highlighting the struggles of women globally and to advocate for women’s rights.

Through beading, women around the world have experienced the positive impact of this important art. It affects our livelihood, gives us hope, and inspiration. It gives us a purpose and draws us closer as a community. Beading encourages the sharing of knowledge and ideas and evokes interactions and communication in a manner that would otherwise not happen without this important medium.

In the October 2014 issue of Bead&Button, we ran a Spotlight feature on the Senhoa Foundation. This important organization works to protect women and children from the nightmare of human trafficking in Southest Asia. The Senhoa foundation was founded by Lisa Nguyen (below) and their main purpose is to help tackle human trafficking with a most unusual tool – jewelry making.
woman and child
The ability to earn an income is a huge reason why women enter the sex trade in Southest Asia. Senhoa teaches the women to make jewelry for resale. They are hired full-time, and offered an above average salary. These women have always been taught that they aren’t good enough, and then suddenly they’re able to do something, like making jewelry, that they can complete themselves. With pride, they sign their names when they finish a piece. They then associate themselves with something they find to be beautiful, and think that they must be beautiful too. Visit www.senhoa.org to learn more and purchase jewelry.
group of women
Another great way to recognize International Women’s Day is by supporting the Bead it Forward organization. In 1985, beader Jeanette Shannigan of Alaska lost her mother to a 15-year battle with breast cancer. Naturally, Jeanette wanted to do something to honor her mother’s memory and further the search for a cure. So she created the Bead-it-Forward organization. It has been very successful and has grown under the help of several hands. Amy Severino is the current director.

This important organization brings the beading community together from around the world to support breast cancer research and care. Squares of beadwork that measure 1.5 x 1.5 in. (3.8 x 3.8 cm) are collected from donations from beaders around the world. These squares are assembled into mini quilts, shadowboxes, and ornaments, and then auctioned off with the proceeds benefiting The Rays of Hope Center for Breast Cancer Research, and The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden. The theme for 2016 is Space: “Out there somewhere, there’s a cure.”  Visit www.bead-it-forward .com to learn more.
womans day collage
These are just a few organizations started by women that really exemplify how through unity in beading, have helped make a difference in our world. We celebrate them on this recognized day!

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