About the same time I was planning IndiAanya, something else literally fell on my lap.
For some time we had been working with our church to transition the income-generation arm of their ministry to a local slum from being led by a lovely lady and medical doctor, to being led by us. Because my husband has business experience, the idea was that we could turn what had been only a part-time endeavor that didn’t provide sustainable income, into something more. A business that would reach beyond Delhi and could provide a steady income and training for women who otherwise had no marketable skills and who could only find local work in shoe or metal factories working long hours without fair pay.
We were just getting started and suddenly had two ladies that were set to lead it decide on the same day to quit and scrap the whole project. Instead of throwing everything out the window that had already been accomplished, and also knowing that Jon clearly was not going to run a jewelry company on his own, I inherited a new job after years of wondering why on earth God had brought me to India, aside from the obvious fact that the rest of my family was going.
The first order of business was to create a new name that was separate from the ministry that our church was doing and one that Americans could easily pronounce. After playing around with several ideas, I decided that the unique and feminine sounding AshaBelle was what it had to be. Asha means hope here and Belle means beautiful globally. With some creative license we say it means a Beautiful Hope.
In August we began assembling our team in earnest and by the end of September, with a few bumps along the way, we had, what we felt was a great group of potential artisans, a gifted trainer and head artisan, a blessing-of-a-manager and the desire to see this business thrive.
We are an evolving little company full of ideas and creativity. AshaBelle is company dedicated to quality and creating durable products. As much as we want people to believe in the mission and vision of AshaBelle, we also want you to love the quality of our products and work hard to that end.
Living in India (and being located in the capital) we are blessed to have access to a multitude of resources: semi-precious stones, silver, brass and wool. We have worked hard to build relationships with our suppliers and have scouted out markets for the best quality materials in which to make our jewelry.
AshaBelle is, I have come to believe, the art I never knew I was meant to create. Pairing my desire to use creativity to produce something tangible and my burden for social justice, being the director of AshaBelle and an advocate for fair-trade and empowering women who have no voice, has been a wonderfully unexpected fit.