Exciting News!

January is a time of new beginnings and we have several endeavours we are looking forward to in 2016!

We’re so excited to introduce our new Style Ambassador, fashion blogger Becky Kung from Velvet & Vino! Becky has worked with us for a number of years, both as a volunteer at some of our Calgary events and has featured us on her blog back in 2013. One of the many talents Becky will bring us is a professional and stylish ability to pair our latest Global Wonders pieces with trendy and upcoming outfits! We look forward to working together throughout the year to see a fresh perspective on our jewelry and how to best make it pop. She’ll also be lending her style advice to us and uniquely coming alongside us as a partner to make a difference in the lives of our program participants in Nepal. You can meet Becky at our upcoming annual Spring Bling event in Calgary, where she’ll be overseeing the fashion show! Stay tuned as we share information from Velvet & Vino – read her latest blog post Velvet & Vino.

The release of our Spring Line is fast approaching, as we prepare to receive and process the pieces from Nepal. Our photoshoot planning for this collection is in full swing so keep your eyes peeled for some sneak peeks of what’s to come!

Spring Bling is happening in Calgary again! Make sure to save the date for March 10, 2016 – you don’t want to miss out on this event. Join us for an entertaining and informative ladies evening to support the cause against human trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children. The evening will feature a FASHION SHOW to show off the 2016 Spring/Summer Global Wonders jewelry, raffle, cash bar, light refreshments and lots of fun! Bring your friends and fill a table! Together with Fall Bling these are some of our favourite events of the year.

SPRING Bling

We’ll also be hosting another Design Night in Vancouver this spring we hope to see some of our Vancouver designers there! Stay tuned for more information about this event as we get closer to spring!

Something else to look forward to is our Business and Design manager is taking a trip in May to Paris and will be doing our first ever European photoshoot! We are ecstatic to be able to use Paris as a backdrop for Global Wonders to bring a new look to our product photography. This photoshoot will be for the upcoming Fall/Winter 2016 Collection that will be in production soon.

With so many new and exciting things coming up this year make sure you stay tuned for updates and lots of sneak peaks!

We wish you all the very best this new year!

Thanks for reading, and, as always,

Happy Shopping!

– Your Global Wonders Team

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A Story of Hope: L

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L was born in small family in a village outside Kathmandu. She was the oldest daughter of her family. When she was a child her family situation was good, but while she was growing her family started to be violent towards her and became dependent on alcohol. L was very good in school, most of the time she got top marks in her class. However, due to financial difficulties, her parents decided to withdraw her from school in Grade 5, forcing her to work for the family. L was given manual construction work, where she needed to break stones and strain sand.

As she started to work and earn money, the family situation became even worse. The family got drunk daily and didn’t work, choosing to lay down wherever and whenever they wanted. Being the oldest daughter in the family, L began to worry for her siblings. Every night her parents used to fight with each other and beat them badly. She didn’t want to stay with them, and left the home when she was 12 years old to live with her aunt and uncle. While searching for love and a home, L met a man and fell in love with him. But that man only used her and left her. Again, she was on her own. With nowhere to go, L returned to her family. Her family continued to treat her badly but with no other option, she had to stay.

One day during a celebration in her village, a man called her away from her siblings insisting he had “something important to say”, encouraging her to go with him to a quiet place. Curiosity got the better of L and she followed the man. He took her into the jungle and raped her. Despite calling out for help no one came. People started talking badly about L and eventually this news got back to her family. Rather than supporting her through a traumatic time, the family blamed her for what had happened and her father again beat her, this time so badly L decided to run away from home with a friend to another village.

L had no work or money, so her friend suggested she work in a hotel, selling her body. She felt she had no options and she needed money. She worked in various hotels for 15 months. One day, a hotel owner proposed to marry her. She was very happy to get that proposal and accepted readily. She quit her work and began living with the hotel owner dreaming of becoming his wife. After 12 months of staying with him, he suddenly left. She called him thousands of times, but he would never receive the call. Shortly after she came to know that he got married to another woman. Once again, her dreams were broken. To overcome her grief and loss, L turned to alcohol and drugs. She had many unanswered questions – “what is life?” “Why am I living?” “Why is this world so selfish?”. As she couldn’t find answers to these questions, her drug and alcohol dependence grew.

L desired peace, respect and true love in her life. While she was seeking it, she got a call from her friend, who also used to work in hotels as a prostitute but now was in an organization. The friend invited L to come. As soon as L heard of an alternative life she didn’t need to think but instantly replied – “Yes, I will come”. She thought “Maybe this is the place that I am looking for”. L has since told us that the day she entered the program she didn’t miss anything from her past life. Easily she forgot her addiction and the cruelty she had been through.

L was put in the Recovery Program, learning life skills, vocational skills and the opportunity to know the real God. There she got all the answers to her questions, and was very happy. She learned about the love and plan of God, soon accepted Him as her Lord and Savior, and shortly after was baptized. Her experiences and overall recovery enables her to support, minister, empathize and give hope to other women who access the program who have been or are in a similar position as to what she had been. L has a hope and a purpose and is living her life positively and now she is working as a member of staff at the organization.

You can help women like L by registering to dip or sponsor a Dipster at http://www.calgaryicebreaker.com

Global Wonders for your Big Day!

View More: http://ackenstudios.pass.us/jessicaloveslanceLast Autumn we released our very first bridal line featuring pearls, cut crystal and German silver accents. Keeping Bridal traditions in mind, we created pieces that would be both trendy and timeless with enough variation to fit every type of bride. Global Wonders is more than jewelry, it’s a statement, a stand against injustice, a way to breach the uncomfortable topic of human trafficking. Our goal is that each piece of jewelry starts a conversation; not just about the travesty of modern-day slavery, but also about a sustainable, fair-trade method to teach girls marketable skills and build their self-esteem.

View More: http://ackenstudios.pass.us/jessicaloveslanceOn her wedding day, a Bride is glowing with the realization that she is celebrating an important day in her life; one that many girls look forward to. In Nepal, marriage is a goal for many of our participants, and we are pleased that in some way, they too are sharing in your special day!

Besides showcase bridal pieces, we also created several pieces appropriate for a bridal party or mother of the bride. These come in a variety of colors and styles to match your idea of your perfect day.


Our feature piece from this collection is called The Princess – inspired by the necklace created for our manager’s sister’s wedding. Her name is Jessica, and here’s what she had to say about wearing Global Wonders on her wedding day:

View More: http://ackenstudios.pass.us/jessicaloveslance

I’m a long-time supporter and guest designer of Global Wonders jewelry and handicrafts; I wear the pieces daily with pride. The way I see it, it’s a win win situation! When you wear Global Wonders, you are supporting something that helps make a difference in someone’s life, and you’re also wearing fashion-forward pieces.

When it came down to my big day, I knew that I would be wearing none other than Global Wonders jewelry. I am a lover of big statement pieces and I wanted to incorporate pearls somehow as they are so lovely.

I met with Naphtali a few times to discuss my ideas. We used a selection of photographs and sketches. I wanted my overall look to be “Old Hollywood Glam”. With this piece, the Global Wonders Bridal Collection was born! When I finally got to see the finished product, I was blown away! Not only had she designed my dream statement piece, but also earrings to match! I was beyond thrilled.

I also used pieces from their current collection at the time for my Bridesmaids. Most of my favorite pieces from Global Wonders feature turquoise, so this piece was very different and very special. I still wear my wedding necklace for big nights out, and it always gets compliments. I would definitely recommend the Bridal Line to any future brides!

Thank you, Jessica! You looked absolutely beautiful on your special day. (Photos of Jessica’s wedding provided by Danielle & James Acken)

Below are some samples of our Bridal Line pieces. To see our full Bridal Line, click here!

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Thanks for reading, and, as always,

Happy Shopping!

– Your Global Wonders Team

How to Host a Global Wonders Party

Whether it’s makeup, dinnerware, or candles, most of us have been to a party where the host helps facilitate the sale of items while simultaneously refilling the guacamole. These parties are great, because they’re an excuse to get together with your friends and catch up, a chance to network, and spend a little of that hard-earned cash on something special. While you can buy Global Wonders right here on our website, a large portion of our sales come from hosting home  or office parties! Stay tuned for some helpful information about hosting a party. You can learn more here and book a party anytime by contacting us.

But what if this is your first hosted party, and you’re not sure what to expect? Have no fear, we have some tips on how to make your Global Wonders party fabulous!

The Space

First of all, you’ll need a space in your home or office where the jewelry can be on display. A regular table works perfectly for this – all you need is a tablecloth and ample room to make sure everybody gets a chance to try on whatever catches their eye. We supply the tablecloths for you, and we’ll set up anywhere you want. We even pack extra mirrors so everyone can get a chance to see how the latest pieces look!

Next you have to think about seating. Parties at home are easy in the living room with ample seating on couches and chairs. If your apartment is a little smaller, colorful throw pillows on the floor make an excellent and inviting place to sit and chat around the designs. If you’re setting up in an office, often seating isn’t necessary as your colleagues pop in and out of the break room to have a look at what’s for sale.

How formal the party is depends on you, the host! We are more than happy to give an extended presentation (with accompanying video) to your guests to explain what Global Wonders is all about. We’re also cool with more laid-back parties that invite natural discussion and questions among your guests. We’ll make sure to bring brochures and information for everyone, no matter their interest or investment level. We’re excited about what we do and love to share that with others, so all you have to do is ask! After all, it’s not just jewelry, it’s a statement, a conversation, a woman’s story; a stand against injustice. We also love hearing our supporters talk about why they choose Global Wonders!

We encourage you to test your creative freedom when setting up the jewelry. Are you having a dinner party afterwards? What about a dinner party themed display? Are you really into turquoise this year? What about separating by colour or type of piece? You can even wear your favourite piece around to spark a conversation – I know we’ve sold the jewelry right off our necks at parties before! If you’re not feeling the creativity bug, don’t worry. We’ve got regular jewelry display stands and we can take care of that for you.

The Refreshments

Nobody says party refreshments have to take all day to make and empty your pockets! And who doesn’t love finger food? Here’s some quick and easy ideas for munching while you shop:

Hummus and Fresh Cut veggies

Ham and Cheese Rolls

Fruit and Cheese Plate

Spinach Dip with Bread Bowl

Guacamole and Chips

Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

If you’re into fancy drinks, try a couple easy mocktails: I, for one, am a big believer that tiny umbrellas instantly make everything more festive!

 

Shirley Temple

Fuzzy Navel

Fruity Sherbet Punch

You could even make it a potluck, if you’re feeling ambitious! Maybe your coworker makes the best crab dip you’ve ever had – offer to make your own famous crackers and you’ve just begun your first snackable Global Wonders potluck.

Your party doesn’t have to begin and end with Global Wonders, it can extend long after we’ve left. Just let us know when to show up and when the next phase of your party is going to happen, and we’ll be cleaned up and out of there before you can say “I Am A Global Wonder”!

The People

So, who should you invite? We believe the more the merrier, but it’s up to you!    Invite your best friends for a quieter party, invite your whole office to get to know each other, invite everyone on your condo floor, you are the captain of your own party ship! Just because you don’t know everyone doesn’t mean you have to make awkward smalltalk about the weather while we set up – here’s some icebreaker ideas:

Person Bingo

2 Truths and a Lie

Never Have I Ever

We’ve got something for everyone in our latest Spring collection, so invite whoever you think might benefit from a relaxed shopping experience or would be interested in learning more about fair trade initiatives and human trafficking. We’re releasing the Spring Line soon, so book in advance to ensure you get ahead of the game!

The Details

When you are ready to host a party, let us know! We’ll send you an e-vite template to send to all your guests, and an information packet. If you see a specific piece on our website that you’d like shown, please let us know and we’ll do our best to bring it while quantities last!

For parties in Alberta, contact Lise

For parties in British Columbia, contact Naphtali

If you have any questions, email us!

And as always,

Happy Shopping!

– Your Global Wonders Team

Happy Mother’s Day!

This week we wanted to bring you another special blog post about Mother’s Day. We asked our supporters and customers to send along stories about their moms, being moms, or any other influential women in their lives. We also spent some time in the classroom at our Vancouver day program speaking with the participants about their experiences. We hope you enjoy this Mother’s Day – themed post!

The first question we posed was: what is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “Mom”? We were surprised and delighted by the answers we received. To many, the word inspires these ideas:

  • Love
  • Caring
  • Nurturing
  • Complication
  • Mystery
  • Understanding
  • Supporting
  • Hugs
  • Matriarch
  • Organizer

mompregoNext, we wanted to know some of the ways Mother’s Day is celebrated by the people around us. Not surprisingly, the most resounding experience we heard was Breakfast in Bed! Moms recounted enjoying undercooked eggs, burnt toast and spilled orange juice feeling touched because of the eagerness and delight with which their child served it to them.

Questionable breakfasts weren’t the only thing on the list! Many moms went out and about wearing lovingly crafted handmade jewelry made of macaroni and playdough beads. One mom recounted wearing a roll of toilet paper tied to string around her neck at church! Her son wanted something functional and fashionable… “In case you need to blow your nose!” it made sense to him!

Our participants expressed gratitude for mothers who never gave up on them, even in their addiction and brokenness. They have been blessed with mothers who were continuously present, proud and loving even when it hurt. For some, their mothers did their best to always come alongside them and be supportive. For others, different women played the same role in their lives.

Here are some special memories we received:

“I remember being with the babysitter around 4 or 5, waiting for my mom to get home. I was pretending to sleep since it was late, but when my mom got home I ran to her. Rather than being upset that I wasn’t in bed, she was excited to see me! The next morning when I woke up, my mom had set up a bowl of cereal and a cup of milk and already had my cartoons turned on for me!”

“Whenever I did something that I should have gotten in trouble for, my mom was always patient and took the time to explain the situation and what was wrong about it to me. This made me feel safe and able to tell her anything.”

“My mom used to embarrass me so much! I remember her joining me in a race for Track and Field day at school. She was cheering me on so loud I was so embarrassed! But now I am grateful for her support.”

“My mom used to take me to a fancy restaurant once a month. One restaurant we went to was decorated like a jungle – this was my favourite! We would enjoy special foods together like garlic shrimp!”

“I remember going to the Island to visit my mom. On my way back waiting to get on the ferry, I checked my Facebook. She had posted about how nice it was to see me and how much she would miss me. I felt so loved I just started crying right there!”

14547080167_342d634ded_b“When I had children of my own, my mother told me that I had good instincts and that she trusted I would be a good mother if I would just trust myself. This gave me strong confidence in my ability to be a mom and not second guess the decisions that I make for my family.”

“My mom was my role-model. I always wanted to be like her: wise, gentle but firm. She always had great boundaries. When i was young, disappointing her was like the end of the world!”

“I was raised in Mexico and got typhoid fever as a child. The only hospital was an 8-10 hour drive away! My dad took me to the hospital and I had to spend three weeks there. I remember my mom coming to the hospital with special hair ribbons. She brushed my hair and put ribbons in it while I was in the hospital bed. That’s a special memory for me.”

“The first Mother’s Day present I received was a clay frame with my daughter’s picture in it. She had painted the frame yellow, because when I was teaching her colors she would always forget yellow. Once I told her that yellow was my favourite color so she would remember. Then I received yellow presents for the next fifteen years!”

One supporter is looking forward to her potentially last “weird” crafted gift. Her children have grown past the age of handmade gifts, so she is treasuring this last one as much as possible!

Mother and Child - Frederic Leighton 1865

Mother and Child – Frederic Leighton 1865

We know that not all family relationships are pleasant, and we wanted to acknowledge those women in our lives who may not have been our mothers but still played a vital role in our growing up. For some, it was grandmothers, friends’ parents, and teachers. These women were encouraging, inspirational, and a voice of reason. They filled a gap in our lives.

For the past 20 years, one supporter has been meeting monthly for lunch with a long-distance friend’s mother. Over the years she became somewhat of a surrogate mother. She opened her mind to different opinions and experiences that she would not have received otherwise.

One of our participants has found a mentor in a female police officer who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to remain a support in her life.

Teachers tend to play a great role as we age. One art teacher is remembered fondly for seeing potential and having faith in abilities and talents. When things got bad at home, this teacher would take this young woman in and spend quality time with her.

Still more told stories were told about neighbours, aunts, older siblings, and other parents. Some expressed heartache for mother’s who live far away. Holidays can be difficult for those who are unable to spend quality time with those they love.

Many of our participants have young babies, and so mother’s day began to have new meaning in their lives. They expressed excitement about being celebrated by their own children and creating their own memories.For them, this day is a celebration of being a new mother. Having a child has given them the understanding of what it really means to be a mom! Mother’s Day mean so much more to them now that they have their own children.

Little Joy by Kelley MacDonald

Little Joy by Kelley MacDonald

The greatest lesson that they have learned is that being a mother means they have a chance to raise and mold a human being. Children are a reason to do the best job they can do. They’re a great motivator to do the right thing: a reason to be better. They say that in their lives they have seen the ugliest side of humanity, and this pushes them to raise their children to be better and to always love them no matter what.

To them, being a mother is an opportunity to share their knowledge and prevent them from making the same mistakes with good guidance. They always try to put forth the effort to be a good example to make sure “their default is better than mine was”.

When asked what they’re most proud of today, they told us that being a mom makes them proud. They are thankful for their support and their sobriety, their ability to parent their children, to live their lives and follow their dreams.

And what are those dreams? To have a family. To get married. To finish school. To become a unit clerk in a hospital, to live on their own, to have a house, to work a job they like, to have more children… the list goes on!

FullSizeRenderWe asked our girls how they’re going to be celebrating this year. On Sunday, as a group, they’re all going to Swiss Chalet to celebrate together! In art class they have been working on an awesome Mother’s Day gift: handmade decorative boxes with flowers planted in mason jars! They all went as a group to choose cards to include with this special gift.

All of the experiences we heard were unique and meaningful for different reasons, and we feel blessed to have been able to hear so many touching and emotional stories! Thank you to everyone who submitted their memories.


And, as always, Happy Shopping!

– Your Global Wonders Team

Remembering Our Roots – Global Wonders History

Today we have an extra-special post about the history of Global Wonders – join us as we reflect on the long, winding road of our history, paying homage to those who helped us along the way and remembering how it all began.

First let us review a little bit on how the SA foundation began its Nepali adventure! Naomi returned to Canada from Nepal in the year 2000 and desired to be involved with a program that was dealing with sexually exploited young women. It was at this time  the SA Founder was transitioning from her project development in Calgary. She was going to come to the Foundation that she had started in 1995 to develop, with Carla, (at the time her right hand) the World Services Division of SA.

The SA Founder had been a live-in servant for eleven years and was passing on the torch to Naomi. During this process, Naomi suggested that the SA Foundation begin a project in Nepal, and it happened that she knew the right people to do so. The SA Founder, Carla, and Naomi, went to Nepal and co-founded (with three Nepali people that Naomi knew) the Nepali Project. This was the Foundation’s first project in a developing country! Since the SA program model includes the development of SA Social Ventures, it was natural to start a social enterprise to teach valuable transferable skills to young women who had little education or means to support themselves.

Many of you already know Naomi, our sales representative in Alberta. Naomi was sent back to Nepal by the SA Foundation as their project coordinator, and with the SA Founder, was a pioneer of Global Wonders before it even had that name! Here’s her experience:


Beginning in Nepal in 2003, the handicraft program started with macramé bags and 6 ladies. I knew nothing about macramé and was amazed as the ladies themselves showed me how many patterns and styles they could create with string. These bags were very strong yet fashionable and sold well in Canada.
At this time, the Recovery Home and Handicraft Centre was located a harrowing 8 hour bus ride away in southern Nepal! I dreaded this drive as there are no rules on the roads in Nepal, buses are packed inside and on top with people and livestock and the seats are not made for comfort. On top of that, many times we were stuck on the road due to avalanches, political protests or accidents. It was very difficult transporting the raw material and finished goods back and forth (not to mention quality control) but we managed this way for several years.

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In 2004 we began to make wool toques and scarves – For some participants knitting came naturally. The fast ones could make 1 ½ toques a day. Others really struggled to complete a toque in a few days and often these did not meet the quality inspection. We had to be creative in how we paid our girls fairly and how to keep each person busy all day. The best part of the handicraft business though was the camaraderie that naturally occurred during the times the women worked side by side. Just like other Nepali ladies at the village water tap, the Handicraft Centre was a place for sharing, crying and encouraging one another. The goals of our Recovery Program were occurring naturally from one woman to another. It was beautiful.
rcj
In 2005, I gave the Handicraft business the name Rungi Chungi Jindagi (RCJ). It means “a colourful life” in Nepali, which carried a lot of meaning for me personally. It symbolized the kind of life believers should have,vibrant and attractive. In the Message, it says “you’re here to be light bringing out the God-colours in the world” (Matthew 5:14). Lastly a Rungi Chungi Jindagi was the life we wanted for our dear participants – vibrant, colourful, rich and full.

IMG_0930 (1)I must introduce our wonderful Director in the early years of our Nepali Program. Suresh was a teacher who came to work with us. He had a great laugh, gentle heart and was a dear Nepali brother to me. He was also a gifted communicator. At times when the bus driver was driving madly zig-zagging across the highway, putting everyone’s lives at risk, Suresh would go up and sit with the driver and before long be telling jokes and stories, relaxing the bus driver and inevitably slowing the bus down. He saved my life many times and worked very hard to get the handicraft business off the ground. Many times he transported gigantic loads of wool on his motorbike.

In 2007, we received our biggest order: 2,250 pieces for West 49. This order almost
killed us. We had just hired our Handicraft Manager here, Reshma. She was in
training as she helped me oversee approximately 30 women in over 4 different Recovery Homes in 3 cities. It was very difficult and I returned home halfway through to
have our first child. Reshma – having just finished her training – was alone to complete
our biggest order! She really rose to the occasion and went above and beyond to
ensure this order was completed properly. We were amazed and relieved when the
order was received, inspected and approved for sale by West 49.

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Also in 2006, we began making baskets out of used plastic garbage. This was a tremendous amount of work for the ladies and quite labor-intensive – though great for the environment! Back home, many supporters loved the baskets but not enough. We stopped production after a couple years but I still use my fruit basket every day and love it!


In 2006 we made our first attempts at jewelry, which were truly atrocious as you can see for yourself! It is a miracle that these sold. We are extremely grateful to our customers as they purchased jewelry those first few years. I had no idea what I was doing. I had never made a piece of jewelry in my life! I had no problems shopping and buying the beads but I did not know what to do from there. I was very overwhelmed and stressed as the beads began to pile up in my living room!

 
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Ruth (right) was also very gifted at bargaining. Here she is with another dear volunteer Jenny (left).

In that same year,God sent me the first of two amazing women who would help me along my journey; Ruth, a Canadian missionary in her 60s who’d been in Nepal over 30 years. Ruth not only was fluent in Nepali and knew how to make jewelry, in truth she had an extraordinary gift. In a city of over 2 million packed into a small area where roads are not marked, houses have no numbers and shops do not have names. Ruth could find anything! She was the only one in the city who knew where every piece of raw material was available and how to get there. This was often down narrow, dark filthy back alleys full of garbage and rats. She found us critical pieces and tools as we delved deeper into the world of jewelry production.

This was the year, too, that our SA Founder gave the handicraft business its new name, “Global Wonders”, while working in Nepal with Naomi on the Nepali Social Enterprise.The name was developed with a purpose in mind: to keep in mind future projects, programs, and products. Global Wonders became an umbrella term to encompass our vision: wonders from around the globe, coming together to raise awareness and support to help women escape from human trafficking. This way, we were not just limited to one location or one product.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn 2010 the Nepal Program staff and I proudly opened a retail store in Kathmandu to sell jewelry alongside our sales in North America. This shop was a crucial place of training and self-esteem for our girls. We named it Koseli which means “the perfect gift” in Nepali. For us the name said it all – the gift of life. That’s the perfect gift!


Around this time, Ruth moved back to Canada. I was panicking once again as production and sales were increasing and so was our inventory. That was when God sent me the second amazing woman, Karen, from the U.S. Her and her husband were in Kathmandu serving with another mission. On the side, Karen volunteered her gifts as a jewelry designer with several organizations. Under Karen’s guidance our designs reached a whole new level. Finally, in 2011 my family and I left Nepal once again to have our second child. I have continued to stay involved with Global Wonders in Canada on the sales side, but my heart is still in Nepal sitting side by side with the women laughing, sharing stories and creating the real “global wonders”!
When Naomi left, she left us with the wonderful new “Cherish” line. Her designs have inspired countless classic pieces throughout the years. It’s incredible to see how many people, volunteers, and supporters helped shape the line into what it became over those early years. Thank you, Naomi, for sharing these beautiful stories and images with us!

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Naphtali, our current Global Wonders Manager and Designer shared her experiences with us as well:
By 2013, I had been involved with SAF for a few years helping out at Global Wonders sales and fundraisers as well as working part time in the Vancouver day program, when the SA Founder asked if I would like to design some samples a few hours a week. I’ve always loved working with my hands and creating things so pairing that with my heart for justice was a natural fit!
From there, I was trained by the SA Founder in Business Management,Production, Scheduling, etc so that my role could include coming up with new collections, managing productions, processing the shipments and getting the pieces ready for online and house sales, working with girls from our Vancouver program teaching design and warehousing skills, and the list keeps growing!
But I must say, without Steve’s support in developing and maintaining the warehouse, inventory systems and distribution to all our sales points in North America and Europe, I would have been lost. I love working with Global Wonders – every day is something new and challenging.
Global Wonders has changed in so many ways over the past several years! Our jewelry lines have evolved over the years to stay on trend – we’ve even added volunteer design nights to help us stay fresh and new. We moved from just house sales, church parties and fundraising events to also add online sales! Becky, our new SAF operations manager, has been an invaluable asset in developing a social media presence so that our online engagement and sales will increase greatly. Just over a year ago we had our first professional photoshoot, all made possible because of an amazing group of volunteers, (thanks to Sandra L for putting the team together!) and we haven’t looked back since!
I’ve traveled to Hong Kong with the SA Founder and Steve to purchase the beads for a year’s worth of production to help combat the problem of limited raw materials in Kathmandu – it was an amazing trip and one I’ll never forget. Then bringing all the beads into Nepal ourselves in our millions of suit cases (only 9!) was quite the event! Being able to go to Nepal for the first time and to meet our new handicrafts manager Reema and the girls who make my designs come to life, to share with them the impact they’ve had on my life, to laugh and cry with them as we created together is something I will always hold close to my heart.
While we’ve changed and adapted to the world of online sales and social media, we’ve remained the same where it counts the most. At the heart of Global Wonders is, and always will be, hope. We are an organization that cares more about the transformation of a life, restoring dignity and hope to another woman, than we do about profits! Our goal for Global Wonders is to one day support all of Nepal’s project costs with the revenue made from sales.
One of my most favorite parts of working in Global Wonders is working with the girls one-on-one and teaching them jewelry design and other transferable skills. It is amazing to watch their confidence grow as their skills increase; and to see their faces when their piece gets chosen for production and we get the shipment from Nepal – it’s priceless! There is something so special about the connection the girls have in our Vancouver program with the girls in our Nepal program – shared stories, shared pain and shared hope. It is amazing how something as huge as hope and restoration can be represented in something so small like jewelry.

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As you can see, the development of Global Wonders is full of rich history and touching experiences. It was by no means easy, but extremely rewarding. Over time we have had the precious opportunity to see many women thrive and begin their own businesses with the skills they learned in the handicraft program. Global Wonders wouldn’t be where we are today without the amazing people who helped us succeed and make a difference. You, our supporters, are a huge part of that success. We thank you for coming alongside us and cheering us on as we endeavour to enrich the lives of women around the world.
As always, Happy Shopping! -Your Global Wonders Team

Spring Bling 2015 – A Guest Post!


 MAR_6430Spring came early to Calgary this March!! With temperatures in the double digits, friends gathered on March 12th for the SAFoundation’s 5th Annual Spring Bling at the Danish Canadian Club for a fun ladies’ night out in support of such a worthy cause!

Together with our silent auction, raffles and unveiling of the new Spring line of the Global Wonders jewellery (including the stunning new bridal line), we staged our first ever fashion show to showcase the beautiful jewellery made by our program participants in Nepal. Lovely models, trendy clothing and fashion expertise were supplied by Calgary stylist and blogger, Becky Kung of Velvet & Vino, Becky Webster, owner of Jezibels Trunk “Studio Loft and Boutique”, and Studio Gorgeous. Thank you Becky and Becky, and your wonderful models!

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Amidst the food, fashion and fun, Lise Daumler, Global Wonders Sales and Marketing Coordinator, drew attention to the importance of SA Foundation’s ministry in assisting young women and children recover from sexual exploitation. She asked us to consider our version of love compared to the distorted image of love that many women who are sexually exploited experience. It was a time of sober reflection.

Special thanks to our generous sponsors, EyeDesigns Optometry and Optimum Dentistry, our numerous silent auction donors, divine decorator Heidi Ratz, fabulous florist Lori Bjorkman, charismatic keyboardist Paul Lau, flashy photographer Dave Brown, and our valuable volunteers.

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Due to the generous donations of our sponsors, donors and guests, over $29,000.00 was raised for the incredible work the Foundation does to offer healing and hope to exploited women around the world! If you feel inspired to learn more about the Foundation’s work, please go to www.safoundation.com.

– Carol Prowse, guest blogger

To see more pictures from our event, click here!

An Alberta Photoshoot

With every new line comes a new photoshoot – one of our favourite aspects of designing and displaying Global Wonders for our fans. This week we have another guest blog post by Naomi H, our Nepal Project Coordinator. Naomi directed our Alberta photo shoot, and here’s what she had to say about the experience!

One of the highlights of working for the SA Foundation is the quality people I get to meet and partner with in the name of fighting slavery and caring for the exploited. Planning the Global Wonders spring photo shoot was no exception. As I began to source volunteer photographers, models and hair and make-up stylists, it was those passionate about social justice who were the most keen to help out. For example, two of our brave models, Jill Plett and Ruth Rossi had little previous experience in front of the camera. Jill has been a supporter for many years and introduced us to her friend Ruth at last year’s Spring Bling event! They had a great time modelling our newest collection! Not only did they look beautiful but their inner beauty and personalities really shone through.  Our third model, Fela Dales, was very comfortable in front of the camera. Although she is often behind the camera helping other women uncover their inner beauty (www.felaphotography.com) she could certainly hold her own in front of one! Her creative experience encouraged everyone to let loose and have a good time.

Our photographer, Rick Erlendson (www.erlendsonphotography.com) was the documenter of the shoot. Fortunately Rick has decades of experience and we were honoured to have this professor of Journalism from the University of Mt Royal lead our team. Rick was a gentle encourager and went above and beyond – bringing props and refreshments for everyone!

Here is the rest of the team that made the Spring Photo shoot a success:

Chantal Barchard from Studio Intent (www.studiointent.ca) generously provided most of our wardrobe. The clothes were amazing and we are so grateful to have been able to use them to compliment our line. Hanes Marasigan Anotado kindly joined me at Studio Intent to help me with wardrobe styling and finding the right look for each Global Wonders piece!

Stacy Alston did hair and make-up (www.stacyalston.wix.com/alstonartistries) to get our models looking summer-ready. Stacy was assisted by Caleigh Breen & Rebecca Pelley, and they did a fabulous job completing each look! Thank you so much ladies for all your hard work!

Last but not least our team was joined by my dear friend Natalie Winters (www.humblepieproductions.net). Natalie has donated many hours to the SA Foundation using her talent to capture several of our events. You may have seen her videos in previous posts! Natalie has a gift of story-telling through video, and she loves using her passion to make a difference in the fight against sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

Global Wonders 2015 Spring Jewelry Collection. from Humble Pie Productions on Vimeo.

I’d like to personally thank all those mentioned above for all their hard work to shoot the Spring line. It was a joy to work with all of you. Thank you for allowing your talents to be used in the fight against slavery. I cannot wait to see our Global Wonders supporters wearing these same pieces, they truly come alive when purchased and worn in love!
Fighting slavery one necklace at a time,

 

Naomi H.
Project Coordinator for Nepal  

 

We can’t wait to show you all the new products – 6 more days until the official release! Stay tuned for the new Spring/Summer 2015 line, and some potential changes to our website to make it more user-friendly!

And, as always,

Happy Shopping!

-Your Global Wonders Team

SPREAD THE LOVE – Guest Post

With the close of another successful event, we wanted to hear from a volunteer’s perspective on how it went! Ten days to go and ten tickets sold. It’s the kind of scenario that makes the palms sweat of even the most seasoned volunteer organizing a fundraiser. We need not have worried. Calgarians, albeit at the last minute, opened their hearts to ‘Spread the Love’ at the recent valentine themed event in support of SA Foundation. On the evening of February 7, 2015, guests who arrived at the Bow Valley Christian Church were treated to an evening of music, mingling and fun. From the ‘Spin to Win’ to the ‘Rose Raffle’ to the gorgeous display of Global Wonders jewelry, patrons had the opportunity to spread the love to participants in SA Foundations programs New West Symphony and Chorus, who “believes in using their platform to help erase poverty by partnering with organizations that serve the less fortunate,” volunteered their astounding musical talents for our event. The crowd sat mesmerized through the performance. When Lise Daumler, Global Wonders Sales and Marketing Coordinator, asked the audience to contemplate what one of the women who had been exploited might imagine love to be, a pin drop could have been heard. The message was received by our generous guests and their hearts and wallets opened. Following the performance, delicious goodies donated by the ladies of Hillside Community Church and hot beverages from Cruising Café were available to our guests. As magician Rob Vanden Heuvel and acoustic guitarist Xavier Davidson entertained the crowd, smiles on the faces of those who had joined us to Spread the Love were the marking of success of our second annual event. As a special surprise to top off an incredible evening, a Flash Mob made up of many of our volunteers lead by Michelle Neufeld from Fit for Change, began dancing. What a delight to experience and a spectacular way to close off the successful evening of spreading love. As the once sweaty palmed volunteers packed up big grins replaced those once looks of concern ten days prior. The event raised more than $9000! Just keep the faith. Thanks to Sue Slaght for guest-writing on our blog today! If you’ve volunteered with us in the past, we’d love to hear your perspective. If you’re interested in writing for us, contact us! All photos kindly donated by Mikhaella Ico. Thanks again! And, as always, Happy Shopping! – Your Global Wonders Team