The issues of human trafficking, gender-based violence and sexual exploitation throughout Nepal are complicated. But Ellen Bender and Jennifer Storm’s response to such suffering has been as simple and practical as it gets.
Both women joined the ServLife team in Nepal’s Kathmandu two years ago. Both were immediately stricken by the effects of this modern day slavery that plagues so many Nepalese women and children.
But rather than simply lament the plight of their local friends, Ellen and Jennifer took action by starting Beauty for Ashes, a small production company where victims of abuse could create jewelry to sell as gift items. In turn, these creations fashioned by Nepali women are marketed and sold through ServLife’s online store as well as through indigenous venues.
Beauty for Ashes demonstrates God’s kingdom in a real and tangible way, commented Joel Vestal, ServLife founder and president. The company models how we can help end injustices in our world in practical ways that minister God’s grace.
The business, a registered company in Nepal, began producing gift items at the end of 2008. It operates in conjunction with the ServLife Hope Fund which was established to restore hope to some of the world’s poorest people.
Beauty for Ashes currently employs three Nepali women who escaped lives of exploitation or trafficking (their pictures above are blurred to protect their identities). Many of their jewelry creations were sold through ServLife’s store during the 2008 holiday season. Other purchases can be made by visiting online at the ServLife Store.
“Our vision for this company is to employ women who have already gone through the recovery process and have gotten spiritual and emotional healing,” says Bender. “These women are still tender and need a caring environment to work in, and we want to provide sustainable jobs and help them become independent.”
With Ellen and Jennifer’s pragmatic dream underway, Beauty for Ashes now has the goal of employing even more women. The company is seeking volunteers, design artists and those who will just come alongside and encourage these women who have suffered so much.
“Beauty for Ashes is a great redemption story-in-progress,” said Vestal. “But my dream is that this simple, compassionate work will inspire others to step out and serve the world.”
Watch the video below to hear Ellen share about Beauty for Ashes, the vision of the business and how they started it, more about the women they are helping, and how you can get involved. Contact us if you wish to learn more and hear about additional opportunities.