Photo credit: Michael LaNasa
When people speak of “charity”, what they are talking about is one-way work – how are other people benefiting from the charity that I am providing? How are their lives being changed by the money that I give?
Transforming lives of people in need is a good thing, an extraordinary thing! Charity is not a bad word.
However, true development is always a two-way street – both sides (benefactor and recipient) need each other to progress, to truly “develop”. The rich and the poor need each other to become whole.
This is one way that we know that our partnership with Basha has truly been working for development, because people on both sides of the ocean have been gaining something meaningful in this exchange of kantha blankets.
We have written plenty about the one side of this meaning: providing the women artisans (who make the kantha products) with sustainable work that brings them dignity & livelihood in a safe, kind, and wholehearted environment.
On the other side, we have been blown away by the deeper meaning that has been gained on the “giving” side of the “transaction”. So many of these kantha blankets have provided hope, comfort, and kinship to the people that have purchased or received them as gifts.
I have so little actual idea of what has happened to the thousands & thousands of blankets that have left our office. But, stories trickle in:
And, some stories specific to the names of the blanket that were meaningful:
I'm sure there are dozens, if not hundreds, more stories like this.
All of these women have literally held onto these blankets through difficult times in their life, and has given them a symbol of hope as they walked through their own suffering.
The word Basha, in Bengali, means "house" and asha means "hope". Basha is building a house of hope in Bangladesh (their tagline). However, this house of hope in Bangladesh has invited countless women from all over the world into this house, and given them hope on their journey as well.
I don’t need to have Netflix anymore to know that the new show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo has surged a whole new wave of excitement over the KonMarie stuff cleanse & its “life-changing magic”.
On Instagram stories, in my neighborhood, and blogs across the internet, women and men (though, let’s be frank, the latter are mostly of the indulging-their-significant-other variety) are purging books, refolding clothes, and asking the question, “Does this spark joy?” (a fancy version of: do I still want this thing?)
This JOMO post (or its likeness) has crossed my radar a few times this week... One person said,
"Yes! This is me!"
while another said, "This is so not me! But I long for the desire to embrace it!"
To all the FOMOs, the Maximizers, the Overachievers out there... there is no better time to try to embrace this than right now during the holidays.
This week was “Giving Tuesday”, a day that has captivated consumers into funnelling some of the shopping mania (of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend) into charitable giving.
One of the huge questions that potential donors have is: what happens to my money when I donate?
It’s a great question, and a worthy one to ask.
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