Kailua Jeweler’s Travels Lead To Help For India Enterprise
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Liza Lee (left) stands with a woman she met at a vocational training center in India where she
has since formed a partnership to promote their jewelry. Photos from Liza Lee.
Graduate gemologist Liza L. Lee wanted to do more than just make jewelry and sell it. She wanted to help others through her craft - and she’s found a way in India.
“I travel and buy my stones during my travels,” explained the Kailua resident.“I go to India every year. When I was in India I met other people at Ladli, a training center for abandoned, abused girls.”
Ladli, which means “loving girl,” is a vocational training center in Jaipur, where abused, orphaned and destitute girls are taught jewelry making. The girls achieve skills that will not only help them support themselves but, more importantly, provide them with a sense of worth.
“In the Ladli program they have about 40 girls because they actually have to prove themselves that they want to do it,” said Lee. “They are being taught something so when they are older they can get jobs instead of just begging.”
While traveling in India, Lee was able to meet many of the girls and even work with them, sharing her knowledge of jewelry making. She also purchased pieces of Ladli jewelry - with 100 percent of her sales proceeds going to the girls who make them.
“I have a few of their pieces, and I give a lot away, but a lot of the time I sell them for much more than what they are worth, because I tell people that 100 percent goes back to them. I don’t take any profit from the jewelry they make.
“And it’s not a sweat factory type of thing, because even when I went to buy pieces I thought I would be able to get more, but that’s all they had because there’s not a lot of pressure on them and it’s more for learning.”
Children at the Ladli Center, where abused and abandoned girls are trained to create colorful
jewelry (top photo).
In addition to buying and selling the training center’s products, Lee also donates 10 percent of all the proceeds from her own jewelry sales to the program.
As the owner of Adorn, Lee is a jewelry designer and has been making jewelry for six years, including silver, gold, gemstones and unique beaded creations. She welcomes special orders, where customers meet with her to design things together. Her personal pieces cost anywhere from $12 to $300, depending on the stones and on the metal.
For more information, call 291-2172.
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