Havyn International has just launched, but the truth is it launched in my heart 7 years ago in Korah, Ethiopia. I was determined to visit Korah. We went and I had my good leather shoes on. We trudged through thick mud in the poorest neighborhood in Addis Ababa. Our translator took me and my cousin, Trisha, to meet ladies who were making jewelry to help support their families. I had no idea how this small group of ladies would inspire me. I walked into the room where they were working, and they greeted us with a smile. I smiled back, but I felt that perhaps they were resentful of me being there. They weren't. They welcomed me with open arms and tried to teach me how to roll the clay balls and the paper beads. They laughed at me when I couldn't do it. I laughed at me. The light was so dim and the benches uncomfortable, but they had light of their own and their joy gave comfort to me and to each other. I was just a visitor that day, stepping into their space. I am sure they had no idea that watching them work with diligence, love, and pride in conditions that I had never been in before inspired me. I left loved and encouraged. I never looked at jewelry the same way after that day. I now see the person whose hands crafted the piece that I am wearing. Big box store jewelry has nothing on these artisans. Those talented ladies, and so many others around the world, have a story. Havyn International was born out of their story, and the idea that we are all connected. We are a haven for one another...from across the world, to our own backyards, embracing different cultures, we inspire one another and we create a "Havyn" for one another.
My hope is that when you want to purchase a piece of jewelry or a gift for someone else, you will visit Havyn International, remembering that you have the power to change lives. In our everyday worlds, we often forget that with every purchase we are connected to someone or something. With every purchase, you are personally connected to an artisan from around the world who has been marginalized. You have the power to give sustainable work to hard-working, talented people. No matter where you are in life, you can make a difference.