Wednesday, September 28, 2011

CHALLENGE Response: Designing Jewelry to fund African Orphans

In our final "Challenge Response," we hear from Gayle, who tells us about how she puts her talents to use for a very special group of people, much in need.  (Gayle writes the blog, "This Artist's Journey," and has the "Kit and Caboodle Shop" on Etsy.  Please stop by both!)

Purpose.  I think we all have a need to feel like we have a purpose in life.  A reason we were born.  A reason we take up space on this big planet we call earth.  For me, I feel my purpose for being here is to create.  Whether it is painting, drawing, or making jewelry, my purpose is to create something beautiful.  

I create jewelry as part of this purpose.  But I also have a strong desire to help those who are alone, abandoned, malnourished, diseased or unloved.  It is the same purpose really: to create something beautiful.  Give an orphan a family, give a child a home, feed those who are dying of starvation, heal the wounds of the sick, or comfort those who grieve, these are beautiful things.

I create jewelry for the purpose of making something beautiful.  In one sense a bracelet or necklace becomes a smile or hug, a bandage or home.  I sell my jewelry to help fund ministries that help the less fortunate: the orphans, the widows, the homeless.  I may not be directly designing jewelry for this group of people, yet in a sense I am, because I can see a a plate of food in a pair of earrings or a warm sweater in a necklace.  

My husband and I work for a ministry, Tractors for Our Daily Bread, that provides resources and help to the most desperate of people.  Right now we are planning to send food aid to the famine area in the horn of Africa.  We've sent 260,000 meals already through World Help and we are planning to send another 260,000 meals next week. The refugees in Kenya are the most desperate of people today.  I just hope it is not too late to create a little beauty in that part of the world.

Photo Credits:

Photographs provided by Gayle, 2011.


This entry will be the last formal posting in this round of our "CHALLENGE:  Designing Jewelry for Special Audiences."   Please continue contributing to the discussion with your comments and questions.   

I will give this a couple of days for contemplation, then write a wrap-up piece.  There have been so many wonderful, varied projects discussed, I will have my own "challenge" ahead of me!    Thank you, Gayle, and all!  



Sharyl said...

Gayle, your charitable work is very inspirational and admirable!
I have a followup question regarding designing jewelry for causes (not limited to Gayle or even to just those who had entries here--don't want to put any particular person on the spot).

I'm wondering about funding mechanisms. For instance, if I were to donate a percentage, in this first year it would need to per a percentage of sales rather than profit or the charity would never get anything! Do you do a percentage? Or just based on the sale of certain items? Or have some other way to determine what is donated?

Do you advertise what portion of your sales go to the charity on your website? Do you think it is good to do that or better left vague?

Finally, how do you manage getting the funds to the charity? Do you send each time you make a sale of a particular item? Just keep track and send periodically? Make an annual contribution?

Not trying to be nosy, I'm just wanting to set up something of my own and considering the options so I can decide what might work best. Thanks to anyone who answers here (or privately, if you prefer)!

G.Dowell said...

First of all, thanks so much Sharyl for all you have done to put this Challenge together. I've enjoyed going back and reading the different posts.

As for donating to a cause, it can be done several ways, a percent is one way to do that. I donate a percent of my total sales and pay the charity once a year. I find it is easier to keep track of that way.

I've seen some people sell certain pieces for charity with a percentage of each sale of that certain piece being donated.

Sharyl said...

I appreciate your response, Gayle! It's good to see the variety of ways people make these contributions!

Sharyl said...

Last minute comments, questions, suggestions? Please add them now! Challenge Summary post coming soon!

One question I was hoping to get addressed during this discussion concerns jewelry-making activities that could be done at long-term nursing facilities with residents. If you have any ideas or are aware of projects, please share! Much appreciated!