Twelve girls participated in our jewelry-making and design initiative in Kovalam, India. The girls are enrolled Sebastian Indian Social Projects’ alternative free education school. We met twice a week as a group to design jewelry pieces inspired by the ocean and our community. These young women are girls rich in culture, ideas, dreams, courage, and laughter but come from families struggling to survive on low-incomes in the local fishing markets. The girls come from a place settled along a crystal clear sea lined with coconut palms frequented by birds of paradise. Tourists visit the main beaches for sunny holidays. However the young girls' village just beyond the hotels and beach bars are left in the dark for crime, substance abuse, and sexual violence to run rampant. SISP is a safe space for the girls to make friends and learn when government schools and private institutions could not provide them with proper support.
Facilitators and the participants formed small circles to make jewelry together with shells found on the local beaches. We designed the necklace pieces ourselves. The money made from sales covered productions costs and the rest is channelled into a savings account for the girls setup by SISP to support the girls.