Show (and tell)

Two teenage sisters live with their SIM parents in Africa. They describe the interesting recycling project that they teach to local women’s groups:

To bring creativity into our lives, we make and teach others how to make earrings. While on home assignment, Mum stumbled across a Facebook page selling rubber earrings and thought to herself “Ooh. We could make those to help women where we live”. So that is what we have been doing for the past 18 months. The earrings are made from a used inner tube of a bicycle. When we get them, they are worn, filthy and old. First, we wash the dirt off the rubber to create a clean slate. Next, we use a template to trace a shape onto the rubber and cut it out. From here, we can design the earrings with either local fabric or spray paint. Most of our earrings are unique and we love experimenting with different colours, shapes and techniques. The final stage is putting the hooks onto the earrings. Voila! A completed pair of earrings. The best thing about the earrings is that we can source every material locally. Although, we have to pay foreigner prices for the rubber, when the locals get it for free.
But the purpose of making these earrings is to help women in hardship create an income so we work with different women’s centres to show them how to create the earrings to sell and support themselves. We have taught all ages ranging from teenage girls to young mums and widows. So in all around 35 women have been shown directly from us. Some of these women have taught others how to make the earrings in places that we cannot visit ourselves. We will teach another 30 women in the coming months. Normally we start with a demonstration in French and then we work with the ladies. At one centre, our teaching was translated into two other tribal languages. Communication for us can be difficult but it is amazing how hand gestures can be used to communicate effectively. Mum usually gives the illustration that, before Jesus, we are like the worn inner tube but then Jesus takes us and transforms us into something beautiful with a purpose.
After each lady has created one set of earrings with our help, they have creative freedom to make any design that they like. One cool thing that we experienced was the excitement on one women’s face when she realised that she could match her earrings to her outfits. She proudly exclaimed that she wanted to make some earrings to match her dress so that she can show them off to her friends at church.
These earrings are sold locally. One day while we were out shopping, we spotted some earrings being sold in a shop from one of the women’s centres. What was amazing about this was the designs being sold were not styles we had showed them. They had used their creativity to make something unique and beautiful. We have also sold the earrings internationally.
For us, teaching earrings is fulfilling because we can help give new skills to women who face difficult challenges in life and, at the same time, we are reminded of how God has blessed us. The memories that we have made through the teaching of earrings are extremely encouraging to us, especially the smiles on the women’s faces when they realise they have created something wonderful out of nothing. One person’s rubbish is another person’s treasure.

— Alisha and Abigail

Pray    That the women who are shown this craft will be encouraged by making some income from it, and that they will be moved by the underlying message shared with them of Jesus transforming lives.