By Aryana Sahai
Namaste, I am Aryana and this is my story. It all started in 2018 when my parents took me on my first trip to India for two weeks. I was only seven years old at the time. I was so impressed with all the beautiful temples, colors and delicious food, but my heart broke every time we left the house. I had never seen so many poor children and parents, and I could not imagine how they lived. No clothes. No house. No food. No education.
I remember being approached by a girl my age with a baby on her hip begging for food. Her clothes ripped and the baby naked. I felt helpless. I started to give away whatever snacks and toys I had in my backpack. It felt good to give them my things but it also completely broke my heart that they lived in such bad conditions.
My mom could see how much I was struggling with processing all of this poverty and she told me about NGOs (non-government organizations). I had to visit them immediately so I could see how I could also help. I came across one that really impressed me because the girls there were happy and hardworking. The name of the NGO is Ladli, which means girl who is loved. The name really resonated with me because I feel like every girl should feel loved or cared about.
Ladli with another NGO I-India rescues girls from the streets and gives them education, food, housing and counseling. Until then I never understood the importance of education. Roshni was rescued from a child marriage at the age of 4 and due to the education she received, she is now a teacher and can support herself.
It was a very surprising fact to learn that everyone does not have access to education. There is so much you miss if you cannot read books or have the ability to learn anything in school or on your own. I learned that education is the key to helping girls become independent.
In this moment, I was inspired to make sure every girl has the opportunity to go to school.
When I visited Ladli, they were making beautiful bracelets from gems that were local to Jaipur. I decided to use the money I saved from birthdays and holidays to buy as many as I could and sell them when I got back. I pledged to fund a month of education for each bracelet sold. I sold out immediately and then was able to place a larger order. I have funded 237 months of education in the last year! I feel proud and hope that I can continue to grow this so that every girl in the world has a chance to learn! I named my company Ladlis in support of the NGO, and my motto is “Real Gems. Real Impact.”
A little bit more about the bracelets: Handmade with love in India, our bracelets use real gemstones — we never use dyed or treated beads. Only the most natural and authentic offerings from Mother Earth. For thousands of years, healers have used the power of gemstones to release mental, physical and spiritual blockages to facilitate the free flow of energy throughout the body. On a cellular level, our bodies and quartz crystal are both made up of mineral silicon-dioxide so we are naturally receptive to the vibrations of crystals as they transmit, reflect, and store light and receive energy. When gemstones are placed directly on your body, they have a powerful vibratory effect that surges from the crystal to you. Each gemstone carries the powerful energy of freedom from the maker to the girl wearing it.
100% of the proceeds go to empowering lives and driving freedom.