By Kelsi Peace, Managing Editor
I always knew a good handbag empowered women.
Or at least for the women involved with Eternal Threads, a tote means a job, an education and a better community.
The project, founded by Linda Egle, supports about 200 women, according to the Web site, www.eternalthreads.org, and has been employing Indian women to make tote since 2000.
Eternal Threads provides the materials, pays the women a “fair wage” for completed bags and supplies villages with scholarship money from the profits.
In the fall of my freshman year, I spent my first Service Saturday tying tags on the Eternal Threads totes, looking at the same woman’s face and marveling at how differently we viewed the bag in my hands.
For the woman who crocheted the tote in India, the bag was one of about four she would make that month, a chance to fund an education for someone’s daughter and a product she labored over to earn a wage that could mean the difference between food or famine. For me, it was something I thought was cute, and if I bought it, would be among the embarrassing amount of purses shoved in my closet.
This project is brilliant because it not only helps impoverished women in India, but also puts that aid in their control. The Web site says it “imports handbags and exports hope,” but more than that, it allows these women to take control in their communities.
There’s something about this “girl-power” project that makes me proud of the women in this world, especially those who stand up and fight for their sisters around the world.
Egle’s project is vying for a $10,000 grant from the “Your Better World” Award, an award combined with the “Stand on a Better World” award. According to www.StandOnABetterWorld.com, the money will support women who impact people locally and globally.
Voting at the Web site ends Friday, and 52 ACU students are supporting the project in a Facebook.com group. This project touches close to home-ACU students often volunteer at the Abilene-based project, according the Abilene Reporter-News, and several ACU faculty members are deeply immersed in the project.
I may not doodle “girl power” on my notebooks or giggle that girls are better than boys, but I still love watching women work together.
I might have to look into buying an Eternal Threads tote. A well-made tote is priceless.