hope for a little girl named ally

ally1_edited-1

she has a dimple and a radiant smile, full of straight white perfect teeth. she laughs and giggles as I turn my camera around & show her the image I just captured of her. she’s a doll a think to myself. i’ll name her ally. she’s 8. she’s brought her younger friend to visit & play at the co-op. let’s call her little friend Mackenzie. she looks only 5 but she insists she’s 6. so we’ll gift her the benefit of the doubt.

just like my girls when they were little. giggling with each other, holding hands. sharing secrets.

ally is innocent. she’s precious & just simply delightful.

and

a victim of rape.

her mama walked into her friend’s home. but this particular day, that friend was raping innocent, precious and only six years old, ally. the brave mama, let’s call her susan, was able to rescue her baby girl & get to the community leaders….who then reported the crime to Rwanda’s local branch of International Justice Mission.

everyday violence devours little girls in this country. sexual violence against little girls (or gender based violence) kills more girls than war, cancer & accidents combined. what?  violence is an epidemic. it’s crucial to understand the poor fear violence every single day. and sweet baby girls like ally, they are almost always assaulted by someone they know. a teacher. a family member. a neighbor.

“the end of poverty requires an end to violence” the locust effect.

a few months ago, susan joined 10 other women as a seamstresses for noonday collection in Rwanda. she smiled all day today. I didn’t know her story until I climbed into the bus, much less the horrific story of smiling, giggling, beautiful with a dimple, ally.

these pieces you guys purchase through noonday? YOU are supporting susan as she rises out of poverty. you support her as she comes to work today. she’s empowered. she has hope for the future. sweet ally has hope for her future. do you grasp that?

you’re sitting in your comfy chair & you wonder…what can i do? i barely can manage my home. i don’t stay on top of the laundry and a home cooked meal seems like a monumental task.

what can i do? I’m skeptical about things like this. i don’t understand why a little girl is raped in a country on the other side of the world.

what can i do? i’m not a sales person. the thought of asking my friends…and worse a stranger, to host a party for me. i could never.

let me tell you something. i was sitting in a comfy white chair, in my comfy home, in my comfy world and i read about becoming an ambassador for noonday. i don’t make grocery lists for crying out loud. who am i to think i can make a difference in someone like Susan’s life? i don’t even watch the news. why is there horrific nauseating violence against baby girls? i don’t want to bug my friends and inconvenience them with a sales thingy.

the awesome thing about all of us together is this—-

IJM in Rwanda employees brilliant, amazing, brave Rwandans who will fight for justice for ally. they did. the rapist was convicted.

noonday creates jobs for the vulnerable. this jobs provide a living wage for susan.

susan is talented in sewing and comes to work everyday. she creates a marketplace for you.

we can use our purchasing power for good and purchase Susan’s handiwork.

you can use your voice and become a noonday collection ambassador.

you can open your home for a noonday ambassador & host a show.

WE all are linking arms together.

empowerment changes lives. if you ever wondered does if your little can do anything big? oh yes my friends, your little is doing big things, big things indeed.

i saw it BIG today in the smile of a little girl, with a dimple ……and her brave joyful mama.

 

Host CTA

 

(remember, you may follow the entire trip here. )

update~~~hi friends….

due to the nature of the internet & out of respect for the people here, I will be turning off comments for the remainder of the trip. we have very little wifi time & it’s hard to get back to each of you with each of your questions. john…you’re the man.

July 15, 2014 - 1:56 am

patty - you are doing a great thing! {and i plan to help!} ☺️

when u return, and find the time, look into “the girl effect”. they work to empower impoverished girls by helping them stY in school a d earmarking monies for women and girls specifically. they’ve found that when women are successful, they tend to bring that success/money/jobs/etc back to their communities, whereas many men will leave.

July 15, 2014 - 9:48 am

Keri - tears! what a powerful story of hope. thank u for sharing this my friend!

July 15, 2014 - 1:00 pm

Angie - Unfortunately this kind of crime is happening right in your own backyard as well. Who will sell jewelry to “empower” those survivors of rape and abuse? This is not a problem unique to far-off, instagram-able lands.

July 15, 2014 - 1:35 pm

Lisa McCracken - Hi Paige, thank you for sharing your journey. There are some powerful stories being told by all of you over there. Thank you.
I was wondering…I’m pretty sure there aren’t any Noonday Ambassadors around my area, but how do I find that out?

July 15, 2014 - 1:53 pm

Deborah - Touche to Angie and her comment above. I was going to say the same thing. Six-year-olds are raped in the U.S. too. How dare you exploit this little girl for a blog post.

July 15, 2014 - 2:13 pm

Natalie - Paige! Thank you for doing what you can to make a difference! You are the hands and feet of Jesus and I am so thankful you’re brave enough to DO and not just talk! Praying for you and your team!

July 15, 2014 - 3:36 pm

Flower Patch Farmgirl - Good job, Mama. You told this story so well. Thank you for compelling us out of our comfy chairs. We have to care about this.

July 15, 2014 - 6:02 pm

Amy P - I never comment here but have to this time. Paige is writing a blog post about a cause for which she has immense passion. There are many worthwhile causes to champion, both in the United States and abroad. And yes, young girls are exploited in our own country. And there are many non-profit and agencies working to change this. Thankfully we have a stable country and government which can address this issue and many others – unlike in third-world countries where the fear of genocide and other assaults still ring a little too loudly. We are called by Christ to serve the “lost and the least” – and He didn’t specify about “where” this should occur. Proud to call you friend, sweet Paige – you keep doing what you are doing!

July 15, 2014 - 6:26 pm

Noonday Collection - Angie, We recognize that these are issues that are also happening in our backyard and understand your concern. We have worked with several US artisan groups in the past and are currently exploring working with a new artisan group that is a group of US women rescued from sex trafficking for our Spring 2015 line.

July 15, 2014 - 6:48 pm

Susie - I cannot believe you are using a story of the rape of a CHILD to promote Noonday parties. By purchasing a ridiculously priced item, we are to believe we are providing this exploited momma “a living wage”. After ambassador commissions & Noonday’s cut, I imagine that living wage doesn’t add up to much.

July 15, 2014 - 10:10 pm

Noonday Collection - Susie, Thank you for your concern and we understand that this is a difficult story. Because of the incredible work of IJM, Ally’s perpetrator was convicted and justice was served. Our Rwandan coop hired her as an artisan and she has been able to earn an income to support her family. She has even been able to move her family into a home much further away from her perpetrator’s family which is amazing and not something she could afford to do prior to getting a job sewing at the coop. Noonday trunk shows are directly impacting artisans like Susan across the globe, so as Paige mentions, these trunk shows are making a difference. If you’d like to learn more, I encourage you to check out our FAQs section here: http://www.noondaycollection.com/our-story-faq.htm

July 15, 2014 - 11:21 pm

linda - What did it cost this organisation to fly you people to Rwanda to promote your party plan fashion businesses? More than a ‘living wage’ I’ll bet.

July 16, 2014 - 12:51 am

Rita Cassava - Noonday Collection, the co-op that produces your product hired an eight year old? This is what your statement says; please clarify.

Let me ask you this. If your eight year old was a victim of rape, would you allow a jewelry company to use her face and intensely personal story in a marketing campaign?

I look forward to your reply.

Rita

July 16, 2014 - 1:03 am

Rita - Sorry, I realized I need to amend my question, as this issue transcends gender.

If your eight year old was the victim of rape, would you allow his or her intensely personal details and physical description to be used as a marketing tool in the sale of jewelry?

Would you be outraged at the disregard of your child’s basic right to privacy shown by the justice system, that his or her case was not handled with the highest standards of confidentiality?

Again, I look forward to your reply.
Rita

July 16, 2014 - 1:48 am

Meryl - Wow. Offensive for so many reasons. I cannot believe you are linking child rape to overly priced “jewellery” which is only really accessible to privileged, middle class white ladies. As for giving the people in your story white names? Wow. So. Much. Insensitivity.

July 16, 2014 - 1:53 am

John - Before we start exclaiming what a ‘disaster’ this trip is, Kimmy (and Linda), let’s let the people of Rwanda decide that. It’s not about you. It’s about them and what a for-profit (yes, and that’s ok) organization is doing to help. Noonday doesn’t HAVE to support co-ops in Rwanda. They could just as easily, and probably more cheaply, utilize sweatshops somewhere else.

July 16, 2014 - 1:59 am

John - Meryl,

Would you have honestly been happy if she had replaced the names with traditional African names? I’m guessing not.

Rita,
The post clearly states that ‘Ally’s’ mother is part of the co-op.

And I’ll go ahead and follow your lead on making uneducated assumptions, there’s a very good chance that these women are grateful for the help they are receiving through gainful employment and the work that IJM is doing and are willing to share their stories, just as you would.

Let’s turn off the late-night judgement.

July 16, 2014 - 2:14 am

Meryl - John- iI’ll judge this farcical trip as much as I like. The whole thing is disgusting. Empowerment is not giving these women a tiny fraction of what their products are sold for in America. This blog post is not story telling- it’s bollocks. Mackenzie? Susan? Utterly, utterly ridiculous. I would not and will not touch Noonday products with a toilet brush.

July 16, 2014 - 2:27 am

Kimmy - John- is co-op Noonday speak for sweatshop? That’s what your comment makes it sound like.

July 16, 2014 - 2:36 am

John - Kimmy,

That’s not what I was inferring. I was comparing the fair wage co-op model (this is not a model exclusive to noonday) with the poor working conditions of a sweatshop somewhere else in the world as we (you, surely) have come to understand them.

However, I’m no expert and I’m sure Noonday can provide more information about the co-op that they are a part of.

July 16, 2014 - 7:34 am

Mary - Sad to see so much negative judgement and inability to comprehend the essence of this trip / effort. Our world is so imperfect and some people choose to do something about it. The Rwandan stories shared are one of many around the world. I admire that IJM partnered with Noonday to start raising awareness on the many ways people can get involved and start making a difference – at home or abroad.

It’s so easy to stay up late at night, sitting by yourself in front of your computer judging the actions of others trying to do good. IT IS SO MUCH HARDER TO TAKE ACTION and do something to make a difference. We all have choices, and the few that don’t believe this is the best path to address these issues should focus their energy on innovating paths to help people out of poverty and seek justice and safety. IJM is one option. Noonday is another. They work together to find long term solutions. There are many more and there is plenty of room for innovative ideas!

I simply hope that the superficial critics can reach down deep to achieve a deeper level of comprehension.

July 16, 2014 - 10:18 am

Carolyn - Good job! I think you’re striving to raise awareness in a great way! I agree; we all should find an area in which we’re passionate and do something to help. More action- less judgement.

July 16, 2014 - 11:58 am

Karen Choat - I do not know Paige Knudson personally. I only know her through reading her blog. She is a woman who has dealt with tragedy early in her life and the lives of her daughters, found love again and has raised what appear to be four young women who will be a positive influence on this world. She is always thoughtful and caring in her blogpost and seems like someone I would be friends with if she lived in rural West Texas. She has joined this group of women who sell products produced by women in places where opportunities for women are few if at all. For them to be able to produce things themselves and provide for themselves and their families does more for them than anyone walking in and handing them a check. The self esteem we achieve by doing for ourselves is priceless. I do not know if the products are expensive as I do not wear jewelry or “doll up” much but I can appreciate their beauty and uniqueness from things that are mass produced in China. Few of us can know the horrors that the people in these countries endure except what we read about or see on news. I, for one, appreciate the women who go there and document it for me. I do not believe that this post was using this young girl. I felt a celebration of her spirit and strength and btw I cannot see her face. From reading Paige’s post I detect a tender heart that feels others pain and felt this young girl’s pain and her mother’s but also felt the victory that the mother had achieved by having a way to make a living for her and her daughter. I hope, Paige Knudson, that the comments here that express such spite for what you do and what this company does to try in some small way help does not discourage you from continuing. Bless you, your family and as a golden rescuer myself bless sweet Brinkley.

July 16, 2014 - 4:08 pm

Sophia - I don’t normally comment on blogs but I am truly saddened by the judgment that is being made by people who are trying to do good. People who are making change in this world. How can anyone be angry about this? The same people who are judging I hope you are doing your part for the organizations you feel are being left out. Remember what is said about people who make judgments about others. It is normally something we are lacking or see in ourselves. These women made many sacrifices to go and be of service. This is not something that had to do but what their heart has led them to do. I feel we should applaud them not tear them down. God is smiling because they are being a shining light as he intended us to be. Keep up the good work ladies. If they are talking about you, you are doing something right. Keep on shining! Safe travels back home to the US!

July 16, 2014 - 9:34 pm

AnnaLee - Hey! Jumped onto your blogposts from the SRT linkup. Be blessed for the beautiful work you’re doing to help these women have both dignified jobs and an income to support their families! I will continue to pray that the Lord does amazing work within your hearts, your relationships and these communities! May His righteousness shine like the dawn, and may He strengthen the hands of His people for the work He’s called them to!