A partnership between ACU’s Department of Art and Design and the nonprofit organization Eternal Threads will bring hope to many young Afghan women seeking an education.
Despite the threats and dangers posed by the ongoing Taliban presence in Afghanistan, Afghan women continue to fight for an education.
“These girls are willing to defy death to get an education,” said Linda Egle, director of the Abilene based nonprofit Eternal Threads.
Eternal Threads is now selling iron candleholders cast by ACU art students. The candleholders come in sets of two and include candlesticks made by Afghan women. The proposed $75 per set will go towards purchasing school supplies for the women.
“Every penny will go towards education for the Afghan girls,” Egle said. “I have a deep trust that the money is going into the hands of these women.”
The partnership is helping change lives in the United States as well. Narrow Gate, a program that helps troubled young men find their Christian purpose, will be working alongside ACU students in casting the candleholders. Young men stay at the Narrowgate property for six to eight months, during which they are taken on an journey of discovering who God created them to be and why they are created to be that person, according to the program’s website.
“These aren’t hard criminals. They are young men that have a little struggle finding good things,” said Geoffrey Broderick, assistant professor of ACU Art and Design.
Broderick is active with the organization and will oversee Narrow Gate’s involvement with the project. He will travel to the Narrow Gate’s ranch in Tennessee on Oct. 16 to lead the men in a metal pour to finish the set of candleholders needed to complete the sets for the Eternal Threads campaign.
Broderick, who designed the candleholders, said the design is semi-primitive but Greek-refined.
“The candleholders symbolize Afghan art from the first century,” said Broderick.
The initial plan was to cast some of the candleholders at the traditional Summit iron pour last Sunday. Broderick said there were problems with the casting, however, and the candleholders will be made at the upcoming Narrow Gate event instead.
“We didn’t let the oven heat long enough, but we kept trying,” Broderick said. “When we do the casting at Narrow Gate, I won’t make that mistake again.”
Despite this minor setback, the project is projected to be a great success.
“This project keeps feeding on itself. Not only is it raising awareness for Eternal Threads, it is also raising awareness about Narrow Gate, too,” Broderick said. “Maybe it will raise more awareness for ACU and what the students can do.”
Both Broderick and Egle are optimistic about the future of the project.
“I’m thrilled to be working with Geoffrey,” Egle said. “This is a great collaboration. It’s a great fit.”
Egle has been concerned for underprivileged women and children since the creation of Eternal Threads. After a mission trip to India in 1998, Egle was inspired by the hard work and dedication of the women to provide for their families.
“These women never squander an opportunity,” Egle said. “Nothing is wasted.”
She tells the story of a young Afghan girl and her little brother who have to share a pencil and a notebook to attend school in their village. One day her brother lost the pencil.
“The girl said she had to miss school and cried for two days,” said Egle. “This is the young woman’s only window of hope for an education. If the Taliban comes back into power, their chance for an education will be lost.”
The candleholders are available for purchase on the Eternal Threads website, eternalthreads.org. Both Broderick and Egle believe that this will better the lives of the Afghan women while also serving a personal spiritual purpose.
“Everybody should be passionate about what they do,” Broderick said. “I can finally do what I do for something more.”