A couple of weeks ago we did an expo for all the ladies at the embassy where I have been volunteering. It was a graduation ceremony as well, where we handed out certificates for the women who completed the 7 Habits course. One of the tricky parts of doing this kind of thing at the embassy is that there is a constant revolving door of women. Some stay at the embassy for only a few days, and some are there for months. So even in a 7-week course with 30 women, we tend to have some leave, and new women join. Much of it depends on the circumstances surrounding their arrival at the embassy. In many cases, their employers file an absconding police case against them- basically they are charged with running away. If that is the case, the women are stuck on the embassy grounds until the case can be settled. Often, the women who have cases filed against them are forced to go through court proceedings...certainly a scary experience considering the circumstances. Many of them are stuck at the embassy because their employers have held on to their documentation (visa, passport, etc). Until the legal formalities can be completed, they have to wait. Basically, the women spend a lot of time waiting. That's part of the beauty of the program we are doing...the course gives them an activity once a week (for 30 women...we can't fit all 200+ of them that are living at the embassy!). But in an even bigger way, the crafts that they are doing allow them to stay busy during the week. And the women who are in the course teach the others, and it creates an amazing synergy (synergy being one of the 7 Habits!). There are challenges, but I love it.
I've been asked if it's possible to buy some of these rugs from overseas. At this point we are only selling locally. And shipping presents an enormous challenge in Kuwait. But who knows what venues we might find to expand in the future! We've had a huge response here amongst the expat community, and a large number of the rugs and jewelry have sold over the past few weeks. 100% of the sales go back to the women in the form of necessities (toiletries, travel bags, etc). What we are doing is merely a drop in the bucket when compared to the huge need here in Kuwait, but it's a drop nonetheless, and a huge answer to my own prayers over the past 15 months. A few days ago we started the next round of courses (with 40 new women!). We'll run the program through May, and then try to do something over the summer...although that will be challenging since many of the volunteers will be traveling. But we'll see! I'll keep you posted. Below are a few pictures of the expo night. The crafts they do are called "Trash to Treasures." Enjoy!