“Warehouse Angel”

Diana and SaraWarehouse Angel.

If I had a nickname for all of our advocates, Sara’s would be that. Sara has been serving CGI since the Fall of 2012. She came with a friend, and they would spend hours together in the warehouse organizing and re-organizing to support the CGI staff and the women in Cambodia.

We cannot tell you how many hours she’s invested, but her behind-the-scenes work sets a stable foundation for other advocates and staff members to take the products into the community. Sara says it best, “It is a fun volunteering job, but more than that, it is so meaningful to aid the ladies and girls who sew the beautiful products!  You will be part of the process in getting the items sold in order to make drastic life changes in these ladies’ and girls’ lives.  They not only receive training, education, salary, etc., but they hear about Jesus Christ!”

I love her greater vision. She knows what she enjoys doing, and it melds perfectly with the needs of the CGI warehouse. “I worked in clothing stores as a clerk while in high school and college,” she says. “They were such fun jobs, so I always looked forward to going to work. It is the same for me to go to CGI!  It is great to see what has just arrived from Cambodia, plus I can see my effort when I am done with the unpacking, tagging and hanging. It is very satisfying to know that I have helped in my way to empower the poor.”

It’s women like Sara that make CGI’s work in Cambodia not only possible, but successful. Lives are being changed by the hours that she spends every week. CGI and the women in Cambodia are blessed by Sara. Thank you!

Interested in getting involved? Contact Lindsey, byTavi Advocate Coordinator, at lindsey@centerforglobalimpact.org

 

 

The Heart of an Advocate

IMG_6065Volunteer doesn’t accurately describe those that choose to serve CGI without expecting anything in return.

Advocate may be a better word when you think about how their hours spent truly impact the ladies in Cambodia who are trying to make a better life for themselves.

Today we want to thank one of those advocates, Tonja Talley. She has been an advocate for CGI for four years now, and has spent countless evenings and weekends selling byTavi products and sharing the stories of the ladies in Cambodia. She, like all of our advocates, continues to give a voice to the women in Cambodia and a market to sell their creations so they can keep their children healthy, protected, and educated.

So why does she choose to do what she does? Hear from Tonja’s heart:

What keeps you volunteering with CGI?  

Jesus Christ and His teachings. The Holy Spirit continues to show me where there is injustice, one must stand against it. Where there is suffering, one must be the hands and feet of our Lord. Where there is opportunity for good, one must seize it. As go our words, so must our actions.

What’s your favorite part about volunteering with CGI?

Gathering in fellowship to assist others gives me great joy. Whether telling the story of Tavi at a byTavi event, handing out food samples at the convention center from the Green Mango Cafe & Bakery menu, or teaching teenagers to model the Imprint Collection, I rejoice in how the CGI mission seeks to empower ladies of all ages in Cambodia, and yet the mission is also empowering women here in the United States.

Thank you, Tonja, and all of our byTavi Advocates. Please know that you are truly making a difference and CGI is blessed to have you as part of the team!

Interested in getting involved? Contact Lindsey, byTavi Advocate Coordinator, at lindsey@centerforglobalimpact.org

Wearing Despair

Photo: Luc Forsyth for IndustriAll Global Union

Photo: Luc Forsyth for IndustriAll Global Union

Are our shopping habits hurting people on the other side of the world?

This is a question that more and more Westerners are thinking about. While most of us would never be supportive of slave-like work conditions in theory, the issue becomes blurry when it presents in the form of our clothes. We don’t sense the burden when we’re clicking through clothes online (Wow! $10 maxi dress….score!) or stocking up on school uniforms for our kids at places that won’t break the bank. In many ways, we feel that we’re being good stewards of our resources when we shop for the best prices on clothing. And yet….

The issue is complex. How are these clothes so affordable? At what cost? Often, clothes are cheap when the labor is cheap, and “the labor” is a multitude of human beings spending grueling days in garment factories. Often in SE Asia. Often in Cambodia.

We read and hear horrifying reports of workers fainting and dying in these working conditions, overextending themselves in every way to make enough money to survive and support their families. We don’t see this. It doesn’t often make headlines here in the U.S. What we see is an inbox flooded with subject lines like “Clearance Sale!” and “Spring Must-Haves!” at prices our wallets agree with. And yet…

There are stories like this. And this. What can we do with these stories? How can we stop this from happening to our brothers and sisters halfway around the world? We can shop responsibly. It isn’t as tricky as it sounds, either. As actress Ashley Judd famously declared, “I don’t want to wear someone else’s despair.” We don’t want to, either.

Consider the source of your clothes, and opt to support workers paid living wages and afforded good working conditions. Our byTavi line is the perfect place to shop, because not only are our seamstresses paid fair trade wages, they’re being cared for on a spiritual and emotional level as well.

Let’s use our dollars to lift others out of poverty rather than driving them deeper into it.

 

Pchum Ben

One of the annual Buddhist traditions in Cambodia is called Pchum Ben, or “Ancestor’s Day.” As Cambodia prepares to enter into Pchum Ben, we would like to ask that you cover this time in prayer in the coming days.

Pchum Ben is thought to be a period when the ghosts of deceased ancestors are in close proximity with the Cambodian people. This highly spiritual festival is filled with intensity, as the living offer food offerings for deceased relatives at the temples. Tradition states that the gates of hell are opened during these days and spirits come forth to receive the food before returning to their suffering. It’s also believed that relatives who are in purgatory or reincarnated can receive food offerings as well. These days are spiritually heavy and often center around the exchange of karma, and our hope is that the truth of Jesus can outshine this darkness and weight.

Would you join us in the coming week and pray for protection of the girls in our CGI programs? The Imprint students are currently learning about the life of Jesus in their Bible studies, and the contrast of this message with what they will see in Cambodia during this time is sure to be stark. Many will face pressure from family member to make food offerings at the temples. Please pray that the girls in our programs, our staff in Cambodia and everyone in the country would feel the presence of a God who is sovereign over life and death.

Courtesy of Wallpho.com

Courtesy of Wallpho.com

Impact Gala

The invitations are out for this year’s Impact Gala and we couldn’t be more excited! (If you didn’t receive an invitation in your inbox, click here to be included on CGI’s email distribution list and don’t worry–you can always register via our website as well!)

This year’s theme is “A Tale of Two Kingdoms,” which represents the Kingdom of God breaking into the Kingdom of Cambodia. Each year we are seeing more and more evidence of this, as many of the women in our programs are hearing the Gospel and choosing to follow Jesus. It’s our joy to be able to share his hope in Cambodia, and also provide the tools and training needed to create a better life for them and their families. But to do this, we need your help. The gala is a GREAT event that not only brings together the people that share a heart for our mission, but also raises needed funds that allow us to continue and improve our programs.

We’re seeing young girls coming out of dangerous situations that have learned to sew and support themselves in the Imprint Project. Lunch is being provided now at the byTavi workshop. School uniforms are being made for the children in our Kien Svay Kids program, and the kids are showing improvement in their studies. A second restaurant has opened up in Battambang. Leadership training and retreats are being offered for our Cambodian staff. We are SO encouraged and we hope you are, too! And yet, there’s always more we dream of doing.

We hope you’ll attend this year’s gala on September 6th. The evening will be filled with inspiring stories, interactive experiences, great food, music, friendship and encouragement. We’d love for you to come and extend the invitation to others as well. See you there!

Register Now

GALA

Faith and Fashion

Nicole speaking at Ladies' Luncheon.

Nicole speaking at Ladies’ Luncheon.

When CGI’s designer Nicole Krajewski poured her heart out for the women in Cambodia at NACC’s Ladies Luncheon, there was not a dry eye in the house.

Let me say, I have been to Cambodia, experienced the stories, and she had me moved to tears. The work that she and CGI are doing in Cambodia is truly changing lives, both in Cambodia, and here in the U.S.
After Nicole shared her heart and the heart of CGI, the fun began. Before we knew it, Kristen Baynai had the whole crowd laughing as she introduced and described each of the 38 models donning the Imprint Collection, designed by Nicole, and sewn by the byTavi and Imprint women in Cambodia. These women were truly brave to strut their stuff in front of 1000 strangers! And, oh my, did they look amazing!

 

There’s no doubt that it was God’s divine hand that brought all these details together, to display the darkness present in Cambodia, and then the hope that Jesus has to offer. This hour and a half program raised over $15,000 for the women in Cambodia, which is generally the amount raised monthly.

CGI’s beautiful models!

We cannot express how blessed we are by Martha Brammer’s coordination of this event, and the whole North American Christian Convention staff. We would love the opportunity to host an event like this for your women’s ministry. Contact us at byTavi@centerforglobalimpact.org.

By Whitney Vance

“Women Helping Women”

JaneSpeedyMy introduction to CGI was through our Center United Methodist youth going on a mission trip to Cambodia last year and then having the purses at our church for sale. I purchased one immediately!

Then, when my daughter, Susan Lukich, came to Arizona (where we spend our winters) to visit last January, she brought along 10 purses and 4 scarves. It took only one hour for them to be sold in our RV park in Arizona! Ladies started asking if I could get more purses! I called Susan who purchased a box from FedEx, went to CGI, purchased 40 purses and shipped them to me.

After those were sold rapidly, I called Susan to say we needed more! She again visited the store and a staff member said, “We will ship them to your mom!” So, then began the phenomena. I would call Hali at CGI, she would ship purses and send me the tracking info, I would let the people know when they would arrive…and my deck was full of women by the time the FedEx man would arrive.

On one of the first shipments, the FedEx young delivery man handed me the large box and stated “Your purses are here.” Since the box had stereo equipment pictured on it, I was curious as to how he knew they were purses. He laughed and said, “Three women stopped me here in the RV park and wanted to know if I was taking purses to Jane’s!” The ladies started to gather well ahead of the delivery time each week and were actually arguing about who arrived first so they would have first choice. MANY purchased multiples to take home for gifts.

We attend a church in Arizona and I had told the pastor that I would be bringing in some of the purses to sell there. He was looking forward to that and was excited about telling the congregation all about CGI.

It was such a wonderful experience for me and what a great opportunity to tell so many different people from so many different places about CGI and the wonderful work they are doing in Cambodia. One friend said, “What a great cause; it is truly women helping women around the world.” The ongoing question to me has been, “Will you have more next year?!”

By: Jane Speedy, byTavi rep

Father’s Day is Around the Corner!

“ It was during our trip to Angkor Wat that I first thought Pa was a god. I was only three or four years old then. With my hand in Pa’s, we entered the area of Angkor Thom, one of the many temple sites there. The gray towers loomed large before us like stone mountains. On each of the towers, giant faces with magnificent headdresses looked out in different directions over our land. Staring at the faces I exclaimed, ‘Pa, they look like you! The gods look like you!’”

Excerpt from First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung

Skinny_Ties_2__97149.1401668795.195.195As children, we often see our dad as a hero, a god… it should be a precious time in the life of any family. Unfortunately, Loung Ung lost her father as a 6 year old to the Khmer Rouge, the leaders of a terrible genocide in Cambodia throughout the 70’s.

Reading this story, we are reminded of how evil life can be, but also how precious and fragile. Have you taken time recently to let your family know how much you love them? Have you taken time to tell your dad (whether he be your father from birth, your figurative father, or even your father in Heaven) that you couldn’t be who you are today without him?

This Father’s Day, treat a man in your life with something a little extra special. Brand new wallets and skinny ties made by women in Cambodia, many of whom have survived the Khmer Rouge and horrors of sex trafficking, are on sale now! Not only will you show your dad or your guy some love, but you will also be showing love to some beautiful women.

By Kristen Baynai

Shop byTavi Men’s Collection!

byTavi: How I Got Involved

 

photo-93Two years ago I went to a craft show at North Daviess High School in Odon, Indiana.

A representative of CGI had a booth set up there and was selling byTavi bags. I asked about the purses because they were so beautifully made. She told me the background of the product line, which touched my heart as I’ve always had a heart for missions.

I bought a few of the bags and was very happy with them. Different people at work and at church commented on the purses and said they would love to have one. I contacted CGI and told them I would like to host a trunk show. The purses sold like hotcakes! Then I had other people who wanted to take them to work and sell them as well.

I have lost count of how many I have sold but I know everyone loves the byTavi products. I have been selling them for two years now and I love to do it! I know that it is for a good cause but it is also a very good product as well. I have set up tables at the park and sold purses and have even had shows right out of my car. I have never had trouble selling the products, because they truly sell themselves!

I really enjoy being an advocate of byTavi and will continue as long as I can. One day soon I would like to go to Cambodia to meet the ladies face-to-face that sew these beautiful bags.

By Donna Jennings

Here Comes the Sun…

dressFINALLY! At byTavi we are so ready to be DONE with the snow and sub-zero temps! We want to frolic in the sun in the new Imprint Collection, hand-made by at-risk women and survivors of trafficking. Whether you are going on a casual walk on the canal, a date with your significant other or a night out with the girls, Imprint is ready to dress you for any occasion. Check out our adorable new sundresses and zipper dress–you’re going to love them.

Stay tuned to byTavi in the coming months as the women in our program have been hard at work on a new line of bags! These include a casual, modern hobo bag and a patch-work rice bag mini duffle. You won’t want to miss these new items or our Spring Cleaning Sales!

Thanks again for supporting the women of byTavi and the Imprint Project. Your purchases truly do change the direction of these women’s lives.