I’m wearing a simple thread bracelet today that was handmade in the Philippines.
In early 2003, Christian missionary Alex Kuhlow and his wife Chris, while visiting the beautiful beaches of Puerto Galera on the island of Mindoro, became aware of a heartbreaking reality. Many impoverished families flocked to the popular vacation destination to sell woven baskets or colourful bracelets and anklets to the well-to-do tourists, but some of them, realizing that they still couldn’t generate enough income to live on, were making the desperate choice to sell their children into prostitution. Moved by their circumstances and wanting to help, Alex ordered $100 worth of bracelets to be picked up on his next visit. That became the beginning of a non-profit organization called Threads of Hope that now provides a steady income to over 250 families who were previously at risk! In addition to providing life-sustaining income and protecting their children from exploitation, selling their beautiful hand-made bracelets and other products including necklaces, keychains, bookmarks and headbands, fosters a new sense of hope and brings dignity to these families.
Through the sale of simple bracelets like mine, Threads of Hope has also been able to purchase land and build a ministry centre that accommodates 1000 people for church and other activities. A full-sized basketball court provides a recreational outlet for the community and pineapples planted on the remaining property bring more income into the community at harvest time.
Last night our church hosted a visiting missionary from the Philippines who, in addition to her regular responsibilities at a Christian international school in Manila, has partnered with Threads of Hope to spread awareness of their ministry and help raise support through the sale of their products. The bundle of colourful bracelets that she brought with her were quickly gobbled up. One public school teacher in our congregation bought enough for every child in her class!
Though the majority of sales are generated through a network of individuals who have been moved with compassion for the economically oppressed of the world, Threads of Hope products can also be purchased individually or in bulk through their website. Customized orders in school or team colours can also be provided. What an easy way to provide protection and support for some of the world’s most vulnerable children!