Friday, May 28, 2010

Pilgrimage of a soul

Phileena Heuertz new book was released today! You can buy it here. Here is one the images I did for the book...a little teaser and one i especially like...

Monday, May 24, 2010

More details on the prevention unit

Dear Friends of Sari Bari-

We recently invited you to participate in helping us raise the funds we need for our new prevention unit opening up in June. We know $10,000.00 is big number so we wanted to break down into parts that make sense and smaller numbers that are workable for every budget. If you want to donate $1.50 you can buy a brick or two or three—bricks are important because we use them to keep tension on the blankets as we are sewing. For $20.00 you can pay for the literacy and materials for one woman. For $90.00 you can support one woman with a stipend we offer during training. For $250.00 you can sponsor clean drinking water with the purchase of the water filter. We welcome your participation, large and small. All of it will be a part of creating a space where young women at risk will be able to find safety and opportunity that will give them freedom from the future that could await them.
We love the support you offer us already and are so thankful to have your purchasing power on the side of freedom for all the women at Sari Bari.

For Freedom,

Sari Bari Prevention Unit Start up

Rent for one year $1,800.00
Security Deposit $ 700.00
Kitchen Set up $ 250.00
Onsite Manager Housing Set up $ 150.00
Secure Closet $ 150.00
Washer (used) $ 125.00
Dryer (new) $ 400.00
Water Pump with Labor $ 100.00
Paint with Labor $ 400.00
Fans and Electrical with labor $ 340.00
Furniture $ 100.00
Fire extinguishers $ 700.00
Clean Drinking water Electronic Filter $ 250.00

Training for 20 women Total Cost Per Woman
Training Salary for Three months $ 750.00 $ 90.00
Heath check $ 800.00 $ 40.00
Salary Assistance for Management staff $1,275.00 $ 63.75
3 meals per week for trainees for three months $ 818.00 $ 41.00
3 months of Sewing Materials $ 465.00 $ 24.00
Literacy, Math and general training materials $ 400.00 $ 20.00
Bricks for tension on blankets $ 30.00 $ 1.50

Tuesday, May 18, 2010



Well, I guess the next couple weeks will make it official. i am a published artist. I did the above T-shirt design for Freeset UK and have another really edgy one in the works for Sari Bari.

And I did the interior art for PILGRIMAGE OF A SOUL by my friend and coworker Phileena Heuertz. I would encourage you to journey with Phileena and order an advance copy so you can get it as soon as it releases! I will share the interior images but not till after the release date!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Other side of rejection

I have experience with rejection. We probably all some point someone told us we were not good enough or smart enough or too sinful to be around. This caused pain and fear about the next time it might happen. if this has not happened to you, I'm glad, if it has happened, i truly sorry.

In my early twenties, i had a very good friend, who decided in the midst of very difficult season in my life that I was too much. My tongue piercing, a relapse of my eating disorder, and the choice of the wrong man to spend time with, made me too much. I still have dreams about the loss of this friendship. It has colored my ability to trust and believe that in seasons of darkness in my own life that someone will tell me again that i am too much and that they do not want to be around me.

The other side of rejection is being the one who rejects. It is easy to forget that you have been rejected when someone, an especially broken person, comes across your path and you want to reject them because ultimately they will reveal your brokenness and sin.

this week, one of our ladies husband's died of HIV. We have known him and been his friend for years, but honestly we have not been good friends to this man. He is one who I know I have rejected at different times for reasons that i could legitimize but will not. About a year ago, I finally recognized his humanity...I FINALLY SAW HIM, his heart, his personhood, I saw Jesus in him waiting for our community to respond with love. In recognizing his humanity, i found that i could no longer reject but only be broken over the sin in my life and see that it was his brokeness that brought him to the place that he was and the reasons for why he was where he was and acted the way that he acted. His humanness and my recognition of his humanity lead me to repentance and a place where i could no longer reject him but felt the need instead to embrace him. the embrace was not easy and has remained mostly tentative, trying to forgive him and forgive myself for not loving him as Jesus. He counted himself part of our community because of the connection through his wife and i am thankful that he called on us and asked for help even when should have been the ones to offer before he had to ask. In the wake of his death, all of the women at Sari Bari came to his funeral and mourned his loss. the ripples of love in community extend when we let them to those we would rather cast aside. I am thankful for those ripples that touched Nareem and that he knew he cared for him before he died. But I remain sorry that i did not extend love more fully and more completely to this man that God created and called his child.

I keep thinking of Jesus words: they that have been forgiven much, love much and they that have been forgiven little, love little. i think that it is not so much a matter of the difference in how much we sin but how much we are willing to acknowledge before God and others of our brokenness and how much we are willing to receive the forgiveness that has been offered to us.

I struggle to be broken before others and sometimes that means that brokenness in others in hard to handle. in my own struggle, i do not confess my sin before God and others and struggle to allow it to be taken from me in order to receive forgiveness for myself so i can love better, more freely. I would rather be angry then tell some one that i am sad and that they have disappointed me or that they have hurt someone i love and that it breaks my heart, i would rather self protect and reject than fall apart and lay my soul bare for all to see. I have much to learn and my friend Nareem has given me a harsh lesson in humility and i hope that God in his great mercy has received Nareem into the ARMS of love and that Nareem and Jesus will forgive me for not loving Nareem as if he was Jesus himself. His brokenness revealed my own and it shames me, as it should. i am broken and asking for forgiveness that i may be one who has been forgiven much so that i can let God love much through me.

May God have mercy on us and on the whole world.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sari Bari Prevention Unit--Opportunity to help

Dear Friends, family and supporters of Sari Bari-

Sari Bari has been working the red light areas of Kolkata for more than 4 years offering freedom and hope to women trapped the sex trade. Even after opening our second unit last year to create more spaces and opportunities for freedom, we are now busting at the seams and ready for more space with more than 50 women working at Kalighat and Songacchi Sari Bari units. Hope is being restored and is bringing new life in our midst. And we are very, very hope full!

Sadly, the majority of women who work for us were trafficked at a young age and found themselves trapped in the sex trade. They were vulnerable because of poverty and lack of choices for young women in the villages where they lived. Kyle Scott, WMF staff member, wrote a song called “35 once 13” that speaks profoundly of the losses that these women, our friends, have lost in the “in between”. Knowing these losses intimately because of our friendship and the life we share in community among these women we want to take a new step and prevent this cycle from repeating.

One of the important steps we took when we opened the second Sari Bari unit in Songacchi was to invite young women at risk, primarily daughters of sex workers, within the red light areas to work with us. We reserved 20 percent of our space in Sonagacchi for these young women and we are so encouraged to see this making a difference in their lives and have seen how their current employment has literally saved them from being forced to work in the sex trade. We see new girls working in Sonagacchi every day and this exploitation can be stopped before it has started. Helping to prevent new girls from being trafficked into the sex trade is the most effective way to combat sexual slavery. We hope to offer more high-risk girls an opportunity to life-giving education and work that will protect them from ever entering the sex trade.

Sari Bari is ready to open one of its first sites dedicated to prevention in the next month, in a village that is a high trafficking area on the border of Bangladesh and India. We hope to employ young women ages 17-25 and living in poverty as a means of preventing them from being trafficked into the city of Kolkata as sex workers. As we have prepared for this new step our outreach, we have been visiting and connecting with the young women from the village. Gita (WMF Staff member) and Shaleha (New Production Manager--some of you probably have one of her blankets!) for the Prevention unit have been engaging the women and their mothers in conversations. And we have sadly found as we feared, that we are not the first visitors but one among many visitors to these impoverished areas. The girls have described many, many visitors who have sought to bring them to Kolkata for a job and ultimately to be sold into the sex trade in Songacchi or trafficked even further to Mumbai or the Middle East. Our encounters have confirmed the need for a response in this village to create a space for opportunity through employment so that these young women will not have to take the risk of trusting a stranger and ending up in sexual slavery.

We would like to offer you the opportunity to partner with us in the start up expenses for the building, the initial setup and the training costs for employing 20 young women. We are seeking to raise $10,000.00 by the end of June to cover these expenses and we hope that you will join with us. You can donate though WMF ( and click on the donate link or you can go to to make a donation online.

For Freedom,
Sarah, Beth, Kyle, Gita, Upendra, Radha, Shela, Shaleha and all the Sari Bari Ladies