The day Tida looked up  |   Sehnoa, Vietnam



senhoa_siem_reap_2015-117-copyLong hours of heavy construction work day after day in the blistering Vietnamese sun would be grueling even for someone who’s strong and physically fit. But picture this kind of manual labor being done a frail girl, deprived of sleep, eating little and suffering a chronic cough from untreated tuberculosis. This was the only work Tida could find to help support her family. She earned $2 a day. Her mother made a meager living doing laundry around their village. Her stepfather took odd jobs when he wasn’t drunk, which wasn’t very often.
Tida’s wearying job was nothing compared to the cruelty she had to endure in her own home. Her stepfather savagely beat her and her mother during his frequent drunken rampages. He would throw Tida out on the street almost on a daily basis. She had no other place to go.

At 23, Tida was teetering on the edge of life–battered, abused and struggling with her failing health. She was in desperate need of a less strenuous job that would pay more and a safe place to stay when her stepfather kicked her out. Skittish and anxious, she wouldn’t make eye contact with people and always looked at the floor. With absolutely no education and seemingly no future, it’s likely she felt there was no reason in her life to look up.

But Tida did have one reason for hope–one shining light in her life: a friend named Tina who was determined to help her. Tina managed to introduce Tida to a Senhoa social worker. The social worker thought Tida would be a good fit for Senhoa’s Lotus House and Jewelry and Life Skills Training Program. So Senhoa helped Tida get immediate care for her tuberculosis. She moved into the Lotus House and started training to be a jewelry artisan.

The delicate hands that were once thrown down on the street are now the hands of a top earning artisan and talented designer whose impeccable jewelry is some of our most beautifully made. Crafting each piece to the highest quality, Tida’s small hands always work slowly. Artfully. And with pure passion.senhoa_siem_reap_2015-56-copy

Now free of her illness and abusive home Tida has bloomed, gaining weight and becoming healthier. She is learning how to read and write and excels at her Life Skills classes. Finally able to support herself, Tida rents a room of her own and is saving money to be able to help her mother, whom she hopes will move out and stay with her, although her mother is still reluctant to leave her husband.

Today Tida no longer looks only at the floor. Now she raises her head more confidently and looks unafraid into the eyes of others. Now, she looks ahead and sees for herself, and hopefully her mother, a life away from cruelty.  A safer and happier life, filled with self-respect, beauty and love.

Support Tida by purchasing these beautiful handmade pieces.

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