Welcome to ArtReach Project #15
The Bracelets for Backpacks Project
From the artist, Lakshmi Mehta
"Bangles and Backpacks! " Tamara said at her pottery wheel in her Art Studio and my heart leaped with excitement! You are probably wondering why? A week earlier I happened to share with Tamara a small detail, or so I thought, of making silk thread bangles with my mother during my summer trip to India. Little did I realize, that a small idea could have some bigger potential! But Tamara, being a powerhouse of ideas, managed to find a bigger vision for the art of making bangles to bless the poor from my very own country, India! She teamed up with Hope Venture, a non-profit organization, whose backpack project is already providing school supplies for a whole a year for an impoverished child who would otherwise have little hope for education in India. In a land of scarcity, every small gift counts and fills hearts with gratitude.
Bangles in India are more than an ornament and a significant part of Indian culture. In fact, for a Hindu girl, many family customs require girls to wear bangles. Bangles are also a sign of marriage and brides are required to wear an assortment of bangles of glass, silver, gold or ivory on their wedding day according to differing customs from different regions of India. In fact, in many states of India, a widow is symbolically asked to shatter her glass bangles, typically red in color, after the passing away of her husband. Other colors also have significances with green often symbolizing fertility, white for new beginnings, yellow for happiness, and gold and silver for good fortune and prosperity.
When I visited Nasik, where my parents live, my Mom had just finished making a dozen beautiful silk thread bangles for my cousin to match her wedding saree. As I stood in awe of the gorgeous silk handmade bangles, my mother in her love decided to make me a few bangles. She insisted I could learn how to make them though she knew of my limited patience with thread projects. With reluctance I tried and to my surprise, I enjoyed it and making bangles became a hit even with our kids. If not for my mother's prodding, I would have probably missed learning this simple craft and we would have not had the bangles project. What a reminder to take time to enjoy the simple things in life that could turn out to be powerful! I will remember the bonding my mother and I experienced through making of those bangles and the memories of that summer trip with our kids for many more years to come.
(Lakshmi Mehta is originally from India and is a resident of Lincoln for the last ten years. Her mother Kamala Kumari Tallam, from whom the idea of making bangles originated resides in Nashik, India.)Inspired by: The Hope Venture Goals:
About The Backpack Project
It’s hard for us to imagine how $10 for a backpack of school supplies can make such a difference in someone’s life. We often take our education for granted and can’t imagine living where illiteracy is #1 in the world and where some children, like 12 year old Jayanti, take their own lives because their parents can’t afford even 16 cents for one pencil and notebook that would be in this backpack. We are seeking to end such desperation. We are seeking to increase the odds of getting an education and getting out of a life of poverty.
The backpack is filled with a year’s worth of school supplies and is distributed in areas where we have trusted partners who care about the people in need. They are reaching out to these children and their families with the love of Christ… a love that reaches to the neediest among us. Please join us in the longest running project and bring hope to the hopeless.
ArtReach hosted five workshops during the months of January-February which attracted 27 bracelet makers. A total of $200 was raised to support The Hope Venture's Backpack Project...enough to provide 20 backpacks to children in India.