Today’s post was going to be a slightly sycophantic rave about someone who’s had a profound influence on Samunnat and what is happening for the ladies. But the arrival of a parcel last night means that I’ll talk about this first and will tell you about Cynthia another time.
I head back to Nepal in a couple of months and always like to take some small presents for each of the clay ladies with me. Often I try to make something but this time I knew I wouldn’t have time and, having heard about Ron Lehocky and his hearts via PCD, and seen him interviewed by Cynthia Tinapple in Studio Mojo, I decided to buy each of the ladies a heart pin. I knew they’d love the vision behind them (Ron has made and sold over 20,000 heart pins to raise funds for the Kids Centre for Paediatric Therapies in Kentucky) and the ladies love seeing the work of other polymer artists first hand.
I emailed Ron and ordered the pins, telling him what I was going to do with them. He replied immediately and said that he knew about Samunnat and would love to be involved. He had lots of questions and his enthusiasm and energy just about burst off the screen. One thing led to another and Ron saw an opportunity to help with raising funds for a Samunnat building. A local person has donated some land to Samunnat so, for less than $10,000 we will be able to build a decent size work room, a training room, an office where ladies can share their situations with privacy and a kitchen where we can make and sell our pickles and other delights. Ron offered to match donations for the building up to $2000. PCDaily will help spread the word in the coming days to rally the polymer community and already we are receiving incredibly generous donations.
But that’s not all. When Ron’s exquisitely crafted hearts arrived, they were surrounded by so many other goodies for the ladies…books, tools, inclusions, magazines, clips and what I think is a greeting card from Bhutanese Nepali people Ron is working with in the US. (An aside: where Samunnat is based in Nepal there were once 7 huge UNHCR refugee camps that were home for two decades to over 100,000 Bhutanese refugees. Some of the ladies we’ve worked with have been refugees experiencing domestic violence nad Kopila provides legal counselling to women in the camps. Many refugees have been resettled to new homes in US, Canada, Australia, Denmark and New Zealand. Bhutan focuses on the Gross National Happiness of some of its citizens, not all. You can read more about this here)
Each tool or piece of equipment had careful and thoughtful instructions written on it and the hearts were just magnificent. Ron had ended many of his notes with Have Fun. I hope I can convey to him how much fun we will have and that it will be fun that will continue to change the lives of the ladies and many others. Anyone who knows me well, knows that sharing the journey with the Board and ladies of Samunnat has transformed my life. Part of that transformation has come from seeing the open-hearted and abundant generosity of people all over the world who want to make a difference to these resilient and courageous women. It encourages me to be brave, to be vulnerable and to trust that we are not alone.
Ron, what to say? Dherai dhanyabad. Thank you so much. You already give so much and now this.