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3 Reasons Why Craftsmanship is a Good for Women

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In honor of International Women’s Day, the Founder and Executive Director of Nest celebrates women artisans around the world.

1. Craftsmanship connects us as women. The art of making beautiful objects with our hands is a sacred act that women have been engaged in since practically the beginning of time. Craft has sprung up as a pillar of cultural identity in virtually ever corner of the world. From the batik textile dying process in Indonesia, known locally as “the art of women’s hands” to elaborate Maasai beading in Kenya or backstrap loom weaving in Peru, women have been expressing themselves through garment-based craft for centuries. In a world today that is increasingly divided and continually unkind to women, we can find healing, strength, and beauty in what we make with our hands.

2. Craftsmanship gives women economic opportunity. Not only is craftsmanship a beautiful way to connect with women through shared artistry and creative expression, it is a way to truly support fellow women economically. The art of making is something that can be done from home, which is not a fact to be taken lightly considering that the majority of the world’s women face unsafe or unhealthy environments in the workplace. For many, they are family leaders, and craft gives them the means to earn a sustainable income while caring for their children. Craft production is the 2ndlargest employer of women in developing economies and 70% of garment production is estimated to be done by women.

3. Craftsmanship is a study in the beauty of imperfection. In a culture where perfection is often at the forefront, there is much we can learn about the perfection of imperfection through craftsmanship. The nature of handmade is to be imperfect and therein lies its beauty. That imperfection makes a garment one-of-a-kind and something to be treasured. In a mass produced world in which fashion runs the risk of homogenization, craftsmanship reintroduces the importance of being true to oneself and embracing ones supposed “flaws.” These are the hallmarks of real beauty.

Founded in 2006, Nest is a nonprofit committed to the social and economic advancement of global artisans and homeworkers through supply chain transparency, sustainable business development, and widespread industry advocacy. By providing artisan businesses with replicable but also high-impact programs while building scalable solutions to challenges facing the sector as a whole, Nest is creating a more inclusive and circular global economy with the power to alleviate poverty, strengthen families, and preserve endangered cultural traditions. Read More

Delta SkyWish Partners with Polaris Project

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Every day, traffickers use the world’s vast transportation networks to exploit their victims.

We see human traffickers operate wherever a transportation system can be utilized for profit – in truck stops, train stations, cabs, and airports. That’s why partnerships are important, so Polaris can bring awareness to human trafficking in transportation hubs across the nation.

And the airline industry is fighting back, taking steps to eliminate trafficking from their networks and supporting survivors with help. In that vein, Polaris and Delta Air Lines are announcing a new partnership enabling Delta flyers to directly support survivors of human trafficking through their SkyWish program.

Delta SkyMiles members with unused miles in their accounts can now visit the SkyWish page and donate those miles to Polaris, as well as a number of other charity leaders around the world. Polaris will then use the miles donated through the SkyWish program to pay for the airfare survivors need to return home, receive critical services, reunite with their children or families, or engage in survivor leadership opportunities.

Delta has also generously offered to match up to 3 million of donated miles. These donations will make tremendous strides in helping cover the costs to get survivors the help and support they need, as well as ensure they have the ability to travel around the country for advocacy efforts without needing to worry about paying for their airfare.

Delta, a leader in domestic and international travel, has long-supported charities throughout the world, and Polaris is honored to be teaming up with them in such a profound way. To learn more about the SkyWish program or to donate some of your own miles, visit www.delta.com/skywish. Read More

Girls Flying Kites – A Playful Act of Defiance Against the Discrimination Girls in Haiti Face

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Research from across the developing world shows that investing in the safety, education, and equality of girls is the most effective way to improve the quality of life for everyone in a community. Learn how you can organize a kite flying event in your community to come together in an act of solidarity with girls in Haiti to help transform our world. Read More

DREAM. DARE. DO. A Symposium on Women, Philanthropy, and Civil Society, March 14-15

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The American landscape is crowded with examples of women’s entrepreneurial spirit in building a strong civil society through philanthropy. DREAM. DARE. DO. brings together a wide range of speakers from across the nonprofit sector for a national conversation about private action for the common good. Read More

Lenten Resources from Silencio – A Trail of Tears

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Lent is a weighty time of year when we are invited to enter into our brokenness and need for Christ. It is a time to pray for healing for ourselves, our families,
our communities, and our world. It is a time when we become acutely aware of our grief, our regrets, our limitations, our lament. It is also a time when we learn most deeply that we are not alone. Read More

The Ethical Challenge of the Image of God in the 21st Century – Human Rights and Beyond

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This is the first post in an ongoing forum on the topic What Practical Relevance Does the ‘Imago Dei’ Have for the Advance of Human Rights, Peace, and Global Development in the 21st century?” We are honored to have Dr. J. Richard Middleton, Professor of Biblical Worldview and Exegesis at Northeastern Seminary and author of The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1 to open this series in an academic voice that we hope deepens your understanding of what this ancient Hebrew concept meant in its own historical and cultural context and how it can inspire us today to work to unleash the liberating essence of our faith traditions in the service of a more kind, just, and interdependent world.

The idea that human beings are made in the image of God (Latin imago Dei) grounds Christian ethics. And it is one of the most important sources of our thinking about human rights, and how to care for and work toward a better world where all people can thrive.

The Imago Dei as the Human Vocation

The idea first occurs in the Bible in Genesis 1, a beautiful poetic, cosmological treatise where God is shown creating a magnificent world with humanity, both male and female, made in God’s own “image” and “likeness” (parallel terms) vested with a place of honor and responsibility in creation to rule over the animals and care for the earth. The imago Dei crystallizes the Bible’s consistent vocational or missional view of humanity—that humans are called to lovingly represent God’s presence and purposes on earth.

We see humans representing God’s image though vocation again in Genesis 2, where God plants a garden in Eden and places the first humans there with the task of tilling and keeping the garden (2:15). Agriculture is portrayed as the first communal, cultural project of humanity. Since it is the Creator who first planted the garden, we could say that God initiated the first cultural project, thus setting a pattern for humans—created in the divine image—to follow. Whereas Genesis 2 focuses on agriculture, Psalm 8 highlights animal husbandry as a basic human vocation and describes humans as crowned with honor and granted rule over the works of God’s hands, including various realms of animal life (Ps 8:5-8). The domestication of animals is here regarded as a task of such dignity and privilege that through it humans manifest their position of being “little lower than God” (Ps 8:5), an expression that begins to move in the direction of God’s image/likeness.

Genesis 1:26-28 combines these two vocations: Humans are created to “subdue” the earth (similar to tending the garden in Genesis 2) and to rule over the animal kingdom (as in Psalm 8). And they are to accomplish these tasks as God’s representatives or delegates on earth, entrusted with a share in his rule, which is the upshot of being made in God’s image (Gen 1:26-27). In ancient ears, the imagery of bearing God’s image/likeness connoted a royal stature, which Genesis 1 claims is vested in all human beings, not just the ruling elites of the day.

The human task of exercising communal power in the world, initially applied to agriculture and the domestication of animals, results in the transformation of the earthly environment into a complex socio-cultural world. Thus Genesis 4 reports the building of the first city (4:17) and mentions the invention of certain cultural practices, such as nomadic livestock herding, musical instruments, and metal tools (4:20-22). All later human cultural developments thus flow from the imago Dei.

There are certainly implications here for environmental stewardship, but we cannot stop with environmental stewardship, narrowly conceived, since the Bible intends something much broader by its association of the imago Dei with the exercise of cultural, developmental power. In the biblical worldview, all cultural activities and social institutions arise from interaction with the earth. Taking the imago Dei seriously requires us to attend to the social structures we develop, including governments, economic systems, technological innovations, forms of communication, and the urban and suburban landscapes in which we live and work.

The Ancient Near Eastern Background to the Imago Dei

This view of the importance of cultural development and its link to the imago Dei was not unique to Israel. In the ancient Near East, the king was thought to be the living image of the gods on earth, representing the gods’ will and purpose through his administration of society and culture. The difference for Israel is that in Genesis 1 the entire human race is appointed to this privileged role. This democratization of ancient Near Eastern royal ideology implies that all people are equally in the image of God—male and female are explicitly noted (Gen 1:27). Further, no person is granted rule over another at creation. This radical equality does not mean that humans cannot organize society with functional hierarchies of leadership. Rather, such hierarchies are not innate; no human being is intrinsically superior to another. Thus, the imago Dei calls into question the inequities of patriarchy and all forms of apartheid-like social structures that arise in history which all too often have been sanctioned with appeals to the Bible.

The other source of the idea of humans as God’s image is the picture of the cosmos (heaven and earth) as a temple, a concept that Israel shared with the ancient Near East. In this cosmological picture, God’s throne is in heaven above (a cosmic Holy of Holies) but God’s desire is to infuse all of creation with the divine presence. It is thus the human task as the “image of God” in the temple of creation, to make God’s presence and power manifest on earth (as was the function of the “image”/“icon” in pagan temples). The communal development and transformation of earthly life (the Read More

“The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes.”
John 3:8a