Louisville nonprofit getting national acclaim for its work empowering refugee women
”Being a refugee is something that none of us can understand."
PROSPECT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Surekha Kulkarni immigrated to America from India and has made it her life goal to empower other women, especially refugees.
“...By providing tools and resources to help them overcome barriers to success and become self-sufficient,” Kulkarni said.
This Louisville wife and mother is featured this month in Family Circle Magazine for her dedication to starting a nonprofit called Beaded Treasures.
“Now, I need to reach more women," Kulkarni said. "I want to reach not only refugees, but other disadvantaged women as well, because there is a real need out here in our own country in our own backyard."
Over the years, Beaded Treasures has grown. It started with beads and has expanded to selling bags. There’s also a food program and a sewing program.
Kulkarni says when women begin working at Beaded Treasures, they often feel little self-worth. They struggle with language barriers and financial literacy.
“They feel helpless, because they are unable to enter mainstream society because of all these values, and there's no way they feel they can ever be part of the community,” she said.
Beaded Treasures teaches life skills. The women are involved in every aspect of the business from the jewelry design, to purchasing the beads and materials to interacting with customers and selling the product.
”After some time, when they started earning an income, we noticed the family was able to drop them off. The men started helping out. The position of the family hierarchy improved,” Kulkarni said.
Often times, the women will go beyond even what Beaded Treasures offers.
“Five of them started working full-time. Three of them started perusing higher education, and then two who have little kids, they are selling their jewelry full-time,” Kulkarni said.
If you're interested in purchasing the Beaded Treasures jewelry, bags or clothing, you can find the ladies at the St. Matthews Farmers Market every other weekend.
To learn more about the women behind the jewelry, how to host a jewelry party or to shop online, click here.
Here's the full Family Circle Magazine feature:
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