Artisan goes from Surviving to Thriving!

January 3, 2022
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*Ciera is a strong Nepali woman who has lived through great tragedy and sorrow but now is thriving!

She was born in Bhutan and lived on a lush beautiful farm with her family. They were forced off their farms and out of their homes when the Bhutan monarchy exiled more than 100,000 Bhutan citizens of Nepali ancestry. Many years of her precious life were wasted in refugee camps in Nepal while the governments of Bhutan and Nepal refused to take responsibility for the injustice inflicted upon them. Many forms of exploitation took place while Ciera lived in the refugee camp. Her living conditions made her vulnerable and poverty made her a target. She felt frightened, neglected, and abandoned to suffer by the rest of the world — left to live in bamboo huts without running water or electricity for 18 years.

This changed her life drastically. She didn’t know how to read or write or even drive a car. She learned to weave from her mother and mastered this ancestral art of weaving while living in the camp. In many ways, weaving saved her life.

​Only when the United Nations worked out arrangements for some of them to resettle in other countries has their hope been rekindled for better lives for themselves and their children. Textiles were a central part of the culture and had a function as clothing, social identity, monetary exchange, religious practice, and art.

Using traditional backstrap looms, Bhutanese refugee weavers in Ohio are creating beautiful handwoven bags and featured in the Freedom Box.
Ciera’s creations, which interlace strands of thread to create fabric and design, are a metaphor for how her life is being restored and made whole in a new culture. Like the fabric they create, their lives continue to be woven into the lives of others in their new hometown. ​
Her life is inspiring and a beautiful example of perseverance and trust in God.

What is restoration work? These are our programs providing healing and transformation for survivors. It can look like housing, counseling, medical care, legal services, recovery programs, education, and vocational training.⁠

* Photo and name changed to protect the survivor.

Join us in the fight to help more women like Ciera go from surviving to thriving. Give today.

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