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Mehindi Paisley Pendant

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The paisley is a major design element in India having ancient, religious and socio-economic meaning. Mehindi is the art of henna tattoo and paisleys are a large part of mehindi design. The paisley has a different name in the different languages of India, but most make reference to the mango and it's seeds. Paisleys symbolizes growth. This paisley pendant is influenced by mehindi style, with a strong dot aesthetic similar to the henna tattoos that are so are so important and revered in Indian culture. Designed by Dianna Badalament, Jewelry Program Director. Dianna says, "Each time I leave India, on my last day, the survivors give me mehindi on my hands and or feet, an act that shows affection and trust. For me, the paisley represents that beautiful day of bonding that I never want to end. As the act of bonding with another human is one of the most primal, compelling and lasting processes humans can create, and the feelings emoted are uniquely special, I wanted to create a piece both beautiful, but, one with meaning which with we can all relate." Sterling silver on sterling silver chain.


Paisley Pendant

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It was perfect that the paisley symbolized growth as it was happening all around me. The Survivors were growing into confident young women and capable metalsmiths and our bonds were growing stronger every day. When I would arrive home after working in India I would thankfully have these paisley mehindi temporarily tattooed on my arms and or legs done by the Survivors in our Programs. I cherished them while the lasted; something that was apart of me and reminder of the beautiful relationships we cultivate. Designing and fabricating the Mehindi Paisley Pendant in a permanent medium, like sterling silver, had an especially deep meaning but no more deep than everyone's most cherished interpersonal relationships.

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Calcutta Jewelry TeamThe MBS Jewelry Centers – including the pilot program in Calcutta, the Mumbai Center, and the Jalpaiguri/Darjeeling Center  are some of our most exciting new initiatives. These centers are training some of India’s first women goldsmiths, offering intensive (paid) high level skills training, followed by long-term, fairly paid employment.

Survivors at the centers are designing and manufacturing jewelry in precious and semi-precious metals. They also serve as peer trainers for new trainees. Jewelry making in India has traditionally only been done by men, and by members of specific castes. It is a highly respected and prestigious skill which enables survivors to overcome the stigma of trafficking and forced prostitution.  

Many of our artisans are survivors of human trafficking and brothel slavery who have been rescued in raids and have spent several years in local aftercare shelters are also in need of help and opportunities if they are to leave the shelters, live independently, and support themselves.  Others are at high risk because they were born into brothel communities or in rural villages with a high incidence of trafficking.  Some are survivors or child marriage, severe domestic violence or other human rights violations.

Typically, girls are trafficked between the ages of 11 and 14 from impoverished rural areas in India, Bangladesh or Nepal. They are sold as slaves in brothels, where they endure severe physical, sexual and emotional abuse and torture. Those fortunate enough to be rescued from slavery face continuing extreme challenges in rejoining mainstream society. It is a struggle to rejoin society because of social stigma and a lack of job options, education or skills.

Survivor Jeweler in Made By Survivors Mumbai Program

We see a dramatic change in the behavior and confidence of our survivors through this program. At first they are timid and unwillingly to look you in the eye. After six months they are laughing, speaking out, and maintaining eye contact. After a year, they are solving production problems, and challenging us to match their determination and energy. We see survivors progress from shelter-dependence to total independence. Many of our survivors are remarkable for their courage in rescuing others, spreading awareness of trafficking and slavery, and advocating for the rights of women and girls.