2013 Fundraising & Celebration Gala

On the evening of Saturday, September 7, 2013, over 300 people gathered at the Conrad hotel in downtown Indianapolis to celebrate Center for Global Impact’s 5th anniversary.  It was an event to remember!

This was our 3rd annual gala and we were blessed with a record fundraising effort – over $178,000 was raised from incredibly generous donors. These funds will allow us to continue and grow our projects in Cambodia, and we are happy to announce that the new class of Culinary Training Center students is now fully funded! Center for Global Impact could not exist without the continued support & generosity of many.

The video below gives an example of how 2 lives have been impacted by CGI’s programs.  There are also some special “thank you’s” in the video for all those who help make this kind of life-changing impact a reality.

Thank you for helping us empower the poor and open doors for the Gospel!

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Miraculous Healing: Meet Riyon

Meet Riyon, a participant in CGI’s byTavi program.byTavi Team Member - Riyon (2) Her story of healing is nothing short of miraculous, especially to those who saw the conditions she overcame. Whitney Vance and Angie Harris are two witnesses of Riyon’s transformation that tell the story of answered prayers.

Whitney: My heart sank when I walked into the one-room shack that byTavi employee, Riyon, called home. Just a year earlier she was sitting upright in the place that she was now lying, unmoving. I could tell that it was hard for her to take a breath, and her thin shirt followed her concave stomach every time she exhaled. Her eyes stared straight at the ceiling, unblinking. Her mother-in-law sat on the dirt floor next to her head and adjusted Riyon’s head on the pillow that was the only form of comfort in the bare room.

A little more than a year earlier, Riyon had a stroke. Due to her culture, her family encouraged her to seek healing from the equivalent of the community “witch doctor.” Now, a year later, CGI President Chris Alexander and I sat next to Riyon on the dirt floor praying for her and trying to discern if a medical doctor could do anything to help at this point.

Angie: Over the next two weeks not much change had come to Riyon’s condition. That is when my team arrived to meet her. I am a nurse by training and very accustomed to working in the high tech world of American medicine. But here, in Cambodia without a variety of tests or medications, I felt powerless. I showed her family how to help her perform exercises and deep breathing and suggested some changes to her medications. The best thing we did was lay our hands on her and pray.

In the way that He works miracles, two days later we went back to see Riyon and found her awake, alert and able to get up and walk with some assistance. I received a video about a month after I got home that showed her walking independently several yards outside her home in the alley. God truly is still in the miracle business.

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By Whitney Vance and Angie Harris

Be a Voice

Stephanie and Jessica Maass

Stephanie and Jessica Maass

After having the privilege to travel to Cambodia with my 14-year-old daughter, Jessie, and meet the wonderful girls that CGI serves, I was honored to take action on their behalf by hosting trunk shows.

By having a trunk show, I am able to love my neighbors in Cambodia and be a voice for them here in the U.S.  These young women are working hard to heal, to be restored, to learn new skills, to understand their value and who they are in Christ.  CGI is loving them, and empowering them through the ByTavi and Imprint Collections.  These ladies are precious, and the items they make are not only products to be sold, but symbols of healing and of change in their lives and culture.

It was incredibly easy to go online and order the ByTavi trunk show products to be shipped for the show.  The instructions and DVD were included with all the items and the free return shipping labels.  I actually chose to do several small sessions with friends, rather than try to coordinate a single night (which is difficult with busy schedules).  I was able to share about my trip, share about the girls and their stories, and provide an opportunity for my friends to be a part of it all.

These women’s stories matter.

People want to make a difference in others’ lives.  CGI has created a unique and easy way for women in the U.S. to directly impact the lives of women in Cambodia.  We have a great privilege and responsibility to be a voice for the women whose freedoms have been taken away.  I am thankful to have a way to raise awareness of the reality of human trafficking and to share their voices with my family and friends to be a part of the healing.

 By Stephanie Maass

Ly Phalla & byTavi

Ly PhallaEarlier this month, Center for Global Impact’s President, Chris Alexander, was visiting the Green Mango Café & Bakery when the manager of the restaurant, Ly Phalla, received a phone call that her home had burned to the ground and had destroyed two other homes.

Ly Phalla, who was the house mom at the CGI Daughters home and now works at the Green Mango, is a very special woman to CGI. She is deeply entwined and important to many women and girls in our programs. Many hearts went out to her as we mourned for her loss and feared for how she would ever repay her neighbors. (Cambodian law states the cause of the fire must pay for the other victims.)Ly Phalla fire 1

A generous donor began a matching fund to raise support for Ly Phalla. Several churches gave above their normal donations. But what happened next was something that nobody expected but brought tears to our eyes. The byTavi women, the same women who are working their way out of extreme poverty, gave a collection of $46 dollars. Just as the New Testament widow gave her last two coins to the church (Mark 12:41-44), these women gave out of their hearts, all they could, to help another in need. God is truly working in the hearts of our Cambodian friends.

by Kristen Baynai

Overwhelmed by God’s Work


Whitney Vance with byTavi seamstresses

I will never forget the first time I stepped foot into the byTavi workshop. I followed Chris (CGI’s President) and Nathan (CGI’s Chief Operating Officer) up the narrow stairs to the second floor where the women work. When I rounded the corner and stepped through the threshold, I was immediately speechless and choked up.

For the first time I understood – and it clicked for me. I had been working with CGI for eight months, telling the story of these precious women and marketing their high-quality items, but I didn’t quite get it until I saw them with, what looked like to me, scraps of fabric, being created into works of art. That was in January 2012.

I just returned from my third visit to Cambodia, and this visit to the workshop was no less impactful. The program continues to grow, and the women’s lives are continuing to change. I met our three newest members of the byTavi family during their first day of work. It was a pleasure to see the “veteran” seamstresses training the new ones.DSCN9894

I talked with Tavi and was pleased to hear that her prayer request was for her teenage son, who had an exam later that week. The mere fact that he is in school is a testament to her and her family’s growth over the years. Another woman, who had just joined the team a month ago, asked for prayer about a breathing condition, so we laid hands on her and prayed for her healing. One of the management staff shared that her parents have recently come to know Christ.

byTavi is so much more than a great product. byTavi means lives changed – not only the lives of the women making purses, but their family members. It’s amazing the impact God can make with a simple sewing machine.

by Whitney Vance (CGI’s Marketing & Relationship Coordinator)


byTavi at Village Experience

DSC03557 Well, if you are as old as I am you’ll know the Village People’s one hit song was YMCA, but you might not know Village Experience (6055 N. College Ave. 46220) has a more contemporary message.

Nicole Krajewski & Martha Brammer

Nicole Krajewski & Martha Brammer

Founded in 2008 by sisters, Anne and Kelly Campbell, Village Experience sells fair trade products handmade by impoverished women in Thailand, India, and Kenya. Their heart to help the poor make a living by providing an American market correlates well with CGI’s mission

Thursday, June 27, from 5-7pm, byTavi’s new Imprint Collection, along with Green Mango treats from CGI’s cookbook, were featured in the fair trade boutique’s Give Back Evening. Several CGI supporters attended and enjoyed browsing through the byTavi products.

Yet what made the evening more significant is the partnership of two like-minded organizations collaborating to help at-risk women throughout the world. I’m thinking Jesus likes that cooperative spirit in His followers.DSC03553

Let’s pray for more opportunities to work together with those nearby and those throughout the nation and world.

by Joyce Long

Meet Nary Mao

ImageIn June 2009 Nary joined byTavi as one of the three original seamstresses. As part of a brand-new CGI program, the women shared the same sewing machine to make pillow covers. Nary brought great talent and creativity to the group as they were empowered to provide a better life for themselves and their families.

Nary is now the head manager of byTavi. Overseeing a management team of two and 40 other seamstresses, she is also a valuable asset to the program’s business side. While incredibly busy, she still loves to sew. Her favorite item to make is the quilted hipster as she finds it quite useful in her own daily life.

Nary lives with her supportive husband, two children, and a niece. In her own words, her life is better now because she makes a good salary to help provide for her family. Nary’s free time is spent cooking, studying the Bible, and singing worship songs during church.

CGI is blessed that God has provided strong leaders like Nary to manage the byTavi team. Please pray for her as she grows in her confidence, leadership skills, and relationship with the Lord.

By Kristen Baynai

Meet Joanna Goodwin!

ImageThe loving hands of 150+ state-side volunteers like Joanna Goodwin make CGI’s byTavi program possible. Raised in a Christian home, Joanna participated in mission work in Moscow, Russia and Honduras. Because of her love for God’s people, Joanna attended the 2011 North American Missionary Convention where she first encountered byTavi. She was so awed by the story behind the beautiful products that she was soon loaning out her personal purse to spread the word.

Within a year, Joanna hosted over 15 events and became one of byTavi’s most valuable sales representatives. Like many in the Bible, Joanna’s story isn’t one of an extraordinary woman with special training, but one of a God-loving, passionate mother of twins who fell in love with Tavi’s story. Since then she has blessed many women with her heart.

In March Joanna hosted byTavi staff Whitney Vance and Kristen Baynai in Atlanta for a weekend of shows and the opportunity to speak in her church, Galilee Christian Church. As relationships continue to grow in Georgia, byTavi is blessed by the love and support of Joanna (and husband Mark) and her parents John and Karen Dressler. Her friends Tonya Moore of Cornelia Christian Church and newly recruited byTavi Rep Samantha Depue have also been very influential in helping her spread the word. Please pray for Joanna as she moves forward with new partners and relationships in 2013. God is building byTavi all over the country, and we are so blessed by His work and those who work with Him.

byTavi Spurs Creativity


Sreymao with her original design–The Wave Bag!

When Center for Global Impact’s president Chris Alexander founded byTavi, the dream was to teach women in Cambodia a skill that would help them improve their lives. That dream has come alive through over 40 women in just four and a half years. However, the dream didn’t stop there but has led to much more than just the physical skill of sewing.

Through byTavi, women have grown in health, in confidence, and in their spiritual walks with God. One young woman, Sreymao, has grown exponentially in skill and creativity. Starting with byTavi in 2010, Sreymao started making simple pillow covers and totes. Today she serves as one of three managers of the byTavi team. Sreymao’s ability to design purses and accessories has quickly earned her respect.

The new byTavi Wave Bag was created in a moment of brilliance by Sreymao. The beautiful “wave” design on the outside is actually four external slip pockets. Inside, there are three more slip pockets and one zipper pocket.

This bag is perfect for a day outing, weekend trips, or even as a diaper bag! Check them out in the Greenwood byTavi store, or online at www.bytavi.com.

by Kristen Baynai

My Sister Tavi

Tavi & Tasha in workshop 2My sister died of cancer the day before I was scheduled to leave for Cambodia. While my heart broke, I knew it would honor her memory to go there to see what I could do to empower the poor and prevent human trafficking. My sister and I both shared a passion for this area of brokenness. Each of us felt compelled to be a voice for the voiceless or those who have been silenced. She was a speaker, author, and activist who used her voice to bring attention to women’s issues. Her death inspired me to live my life leaving no stone unturned to help the poor, abused, and marginalized. She’s my inspiration to live with passion and to fuel the fire in my heart to love God, love others, and invite others to join God’s mission.

When I met Tavi, we instantly connected. I just LOVED her! I felt like I had known her my entire life.  I’m sure this came from God. It was mutual. We spent time together in her home with her children as well as in the byTavi workshop. She shared her heart, telling me how she lost both her husband and daughter to AIDS and how Center for Global Impact (CGI) had helped her learn a skill. Now with the income from making purses, she could send each of her kids to school and purchase needed medicine to help her stay well as she also has AIDS. Tavi also shared about the pride she has in her home. She was able to replace her mud floor with a cement one, which significantly improved her living conditions. When we finished talking, she asked:  “Will you be my sister?”At Tavi's home

Tavi didn’t know my sister had just died. She didn’t understand how her question impacted me. We both cried as we agreed to be sisters. Tavi, my sister in Christ, has been empowered through CGI’s byTavi program. Her life will never be the same, and her story inspires me to share byTavi so that others like her can provide for themselves and their families in a healthy way.

Chains are being broken. Lives are being healed. The gospel is being shared, and Christ is being revealed in Cambodia. Daughters are no longer sold into human trafficking because mothers have a professional skill that provides for their families. What a blessing to be a part of what God is doing in Cambodia! He is at work. Who would have thought that by buying a purse, you could change a life?  Amazing!

To live is Christ. . .

Tasha Simons