‘Bu’ arrived in Lebanon at the age of 19 with a simple dream – to dress nicely. The chance to work seemed to be the first step to fulfilling that dream. It got her out from under her alcoholic father’s hand and away from the piece of canvas that was her family’s only shelter from the Sri Lankan elements.
A chance to work. To support her family. To break the cycle of poverty. To fulfill her dreams.
Those dreams were dashed when she arrived in Lebanon. As with many domestic workers, her passport was confiscated upon arrival. She was never paid for her work, barely fed, and refused all contact with her family.
For a year she lived like this. And then one day she picked up a phone to call her neighbors back home, hoping to hear a familiar voice, to pass on a message to her family. When her “madame” found out, she grabbed a kitchen knife, forced Bu against a wall and stabbed her just below the neck. Fearing for her life, Bu fought back, and is now serving a life-sentence for murder. She’s been in prison for 19 years.
Bu’s story doesn’t end in a prison cell. In the midst of the darkness her newfound faith has given her comfort, peace, and hope.
A friend of mine has also helped give Bu a sense of purpose. She and some other prisoners (both from Lebanon and abroad) have started making soft soled shoes for babies and small toddlers. Not only is it a source of income – many of these women still have families depending on them – but the act of working, of creating, of doing something worthwhile is life changing for those whose futures seem hopeless.
Soft soled shoes are actually the only kinds of shoes my kids have worn until they were about 18 months old. Barefoot is best for early walkers, and these shoes bend and flex like a bare foot would, while protecting little toes from cold hard floors or dirty sidewalks.
The shoes come in three sizes. Size 1 comes with felt soles and is perfect for a new baby. Size 2 and 3 have genuine leather soles and fit pre-walkers and walkers.
Shoes are $15 a pair and come with a gift bag.
Pick up is in Hamra or Mansourieh.
To order, contact Steph at firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp 009613242914