Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Great Exchange

I get by with a little help from my friends. -The Beatles

No.41 was started out of smallness. Out of a willingness to be used. A desire to see change. As a group. In a community. One of our fundamental beliefs is that every life has value. We all have unique gifts and talents. Mine are not yours and yours are not mine. Every one of us was created with purpose and there are good works, already prepared, for each of us to do. 

Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. -Desmond Tutu

Maybe you've heard our whole story, or enough pieces of it, so I won't go into all of it here. But, in case you haven't, here's the quick run down. In 2011, I (Tara) moved into the Noel Orphanage in Gisenyi, Rwanda. I didn't have a plan, but I trusted that God did. At them time, there were 630 children and young adults living at Noel and I wanted to make a lasting impact in some way. I heard a quote by Andy Stanley, "Do for one what you wish you could do for all." And I knew, at the very least, I could create change for one. So, I founded No.41 and began working with several of the oldest girls from Noel, all over the age of 18, and teaching them to sew as a way to earn a sustainable income. It was important to me that the girls knew their worth, not only as a child of God, but also within their community, so after they are paid the ladies donate 100% of the profits from the sell of their items to feed students at a feeding program we started at a local school. We've had 32 women go through our program and we currently feed 1,200 students and teachers every day. So now that you're all caught up....

I love this photo so hard....
I have been dying to tell y'all more about The Great Exchange Project (#thegreatexchangeproject) an upcoming collaboration with some (new) dear friends of mine, The Ivey's. This is more than an answered prayer. It's the answer to SO many. To name a couple: as you may know, we have recently taken a men's leather co-op under our wing; we are so thrilled about what that could mean for us, but have been more than overwhelmed with all that entails. Enter Joanna. And, as you may also know, we have been hurting since our girl Alison, our resident photographer, moved back to Texas. Alison's beautiful photos have always been paramount in helping us share our story and she has been sorely missed around here. Enter Tim. SO YOU GUYS...

The Ivey's are in the process of adopting domestically and all the profits from Joanna's handbags go to support that.
Quick backgroud: I met Joanna at the Influence Conference last fall. I had been eyeing her beautiful clutches, that were selling like hotcakes in the marketplace there, and was so excited when I realized we were sitting at the same breakfast table. I don't really remember how the rest played out, we got to talking and she was sharing her heart about her desire to use her skills to give back, and I joking asked if she wanted to come to Rwanda. She said yes! I laughed and probably continued chomping some bacon. Later that day, she came up to me and said, "So, I'm actually serious, I would love to talk about coming to Rwanda. I think I can help." and that was it. We hung the rest of the weekend and got to know each other a bit more. Oh, and it just so happens she lives in Chattanooga, so once we got back to Tennessee, she invited my down to speak at her small group where I got to meet Tim and their sweet daughter, Zuri. And, y'all, the rest is history...

THE IVEY'S ARE COMING TO RWANDA. They are so dear, and so lovely, and oh so talented and we are more than honored to have them become a part of our story.

Sneak peek of one of the bags Joanna and I have been designing... (!!!)

I feel like I've gone and gotten all wordy on y'all; I guess that's what happens when you don't blog for months... Anyway, our trip is coming up in 3 very short weeks and we can't wait to update you! We'd love to have y'all follow along on instagram! And Joanna has started a prayer calendar for the trip that you can sign up for on her insta. We'd love your prayers!

No.41: @no41
Tara: @tarajill

Ok. Bye.