Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weaving Global Friendship

Three years ago my daughter got involved with a wonderful organization called CISV. CISV was established 61 years ago by a child psychologist by the name of Dr. Doris Allen. Dr. Allen believed that in the post WWII world the potential for peace in the world was in the children. She started with camps or villages for eleven year olds. She believed that at eleven children could deal with the separation from families but that they had not yet let stereotypes and prejudice define their understanding of other peoples and cultures. She brought together children from 12 different countries to live together in community for a month and created opportunities for them to play together while discussing real world - hard issues.

DR. Allen's idea has blossomed and grown to 60 different countries on six continents. There are 100s of programs every year for children ages 11 to 111. At each different level there is an opportunity to interact and come to know, really know, individuals from other countries. The International Peoples Project is for adults. IPPs are focused on a specific issue while creating an international community.

My daughter traveled to Graz, Austria in 2011 and to Sao Paulo Brazil last winter. These opportunities have been life changing. Through these experiences she has made friends in 20 plus countries. Last month she had birthday greetings from friends on 5 continents on Facebook. A symbol of these friendships are her friendship bracelets - braided string or ribbon or leather tied around her wrist. These precious mementos went to prom and a formal family wedding. Mid summer she had 34 bracelets on all four extremities.

Holding hands with a child in Brazil
As many of you know, two months ago - while still 17, she moved to Japan to live for 11 months. She is attending high school in Japan through the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. As she prepared to leave for Japan, she was told that Japanese schools have very strict uniform policies and that she would not be allowed to wear her bracelets. This was huge for her - cutting off the bracelets was traumatic. What would she/could she do with them to continue to honor these important relationships?

All of her bracelets

My husband came up with the idea of weaving the bracelets into a scarf. By the night after the bracelets were cut there was a new warp on my loom and in two days she had a scarf to carry with her to Japan. I think it is lovely if I do say so my self.

Bamboo scarf embellished with friendship

Close up including coins and beads

This past weekend CISV USA held its annual convention. I donated a "yet to be woven" scarf for their fundraising auction. When I showed the photos to one CISV mom she said "I'm speechless - who would have thought that you could make something so beautiful out of those nasty strings." I look forward to the opportunity to "Weave Global Friendship" into many more scarves.

Be well,


Bonnie said...

And beautiful it was. What a great idea.

LA said...

This is a great way to preserve these mementos from special friends. I'm glad you got to share this idea with a larger community. I loved seeing the scarf at the Center!

Ali Clay said...

Ann, so beautiful on so many levels! I love your work!

Theresa said...

Here's to beautiful friends, beautiful sentiments and beautiful weaving! You've done your daughter proud with that wonderful scarf!