Military Spouse Magazine

SEP 2018

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Years after her initial idea, Carroll starting thinking about how to support the people of Afghanistan. She met with Fawzia Koofi, author of the book "Favored Daughter" and the first woman to run for the Afghanistan Parliament. They teamed up with a mining company in Northern Afghanistan to create the unique gift, one that Carroll says, "has the power to create a stable home and put a child in school." While American widows typically have access to insurance and programs that cover their needs, equivalent sup- port systems do not exist in Afghanistan. "When you improve a woman's self- esteem through employment and education, there is a ripple effect on the family and whole society," says Carroll. "TAPS created a business model that can grow indefi- nitely, and the program's growth depends on those who are benefitting from it the most. When someone purchases a brace- let, they can feel confident knowing, 'there is a woman on the other side of the world who is now living better because of me.'" TR ANSFORMING LIVES The lapis lazuli bracelets mined in Af- ghanistan have acted as ambassadors to United States military families by bringing a piece of Afghanistan home to a griev- ing family. One American mother whose son was killed in Afghanistan wrote: "I've wished for a piece of jewelry from there for so long. I hesitated to purchase just anywhere for fear of authenticity. Just recently I learned TAPS had initiated a program between Afghan women and American women who share in the tragic Help Support the Afghan Hope Project The gems are tested and continually perform well at gem shows among the highest quality lapis in the world. TAPS has also created fundraiser kits they send to military spouse groups, containing 100 bracelets, a display box, and posters about the bracelets. The bracelets can be sold at cost, or groups can raise the price and create a fundraiser for their own program. They make a great gift for any military spouse or family member. Not only do the bracelets help bridge the divide between cultures, but they also promote social responsibility. Buyers can feel confident they are making a difference in the world. losses of this war. I ordered immediately. I now have a physical connection that I can touch to this far away land my son gave his life for. I love it. Please relay to the Afghan com- munity of women this is very dear to me." Carroll explains the jewelry is so mean- ingful because it connects survivors from both countries who share a common bond. "We only grieve because we love. We come together because of our love for those who have died. It's not about hatred and anger." Carroll firmly believes that the bracelets make the world a better place by not only improving the living conditions of families in Afghanistan, but also transforming hearts and minds in America. For the families of service members killed in Afghanistan, the bracelets are one way of helping carry on their loved one's service. "The best way to honor our fallen loved ones is to continue their legacy and hold up their mission. Their lives were about making the world a better place," says Carroll. H The goal of the Afghan Hope Project is to meet the basic needs of the widows of the Afghanistan Security and Defense forces. Here's how: • Making beads out of lapis lazuli provides jobs that women can do at home while remaining with their children. • The program teaches women specialized skills. • The literacy program helps children achieve education. • Having a job and an income gives widows access to healthcare for themselves and their children. Lapis lazuli bracelets from the Afghan Hope Project can be purchased from shop.taps.org/pages/afghan , and start at $30 . While American widows typically have access to insurance and programs that cover their needs, equivalent sup- port systems do not exist in Afghanistan. "When you improve a woman's self- esteem through employment and education, there is a ripple effect on the family and whole society," says Carroll. "TAPS created a business model that can grow indefi- nitely, and the program's growth depends on those who are benefitting from it the most. When someone purchases a brace- let, they can feel confident knowing, 'there is a woman on the other side of the world who is now living better because of me.'" TR ANSFORMING LIVES The lapis lazuli bracelets mined in Af- ghanistan have acted as ambassadors to United States military families by bringing a piece of Afghanistan home to a griev- ing family. One American mother whose son was killed in Afghanistan wrote: "I've wished for a piece of jewelry from there for so long. I hesitated to purchase just anywhere for fear of authenticity. Just recently I learned TAPS had initiated a program between Afghan women and American women who share in the tragic losses of this war. I ordered immediately. I now have a physical connection that I can touch to this far away land my son gave his life for. I love it. Please relay to the Afghan com- munity of women this is very dear to me." Carroll explains the jewelry is so mean- ingful because it connects survivors from both countries who share a common bond. "We only grieve because we love. We come together because of our love for those who have died. It's not about hatred and anger." Carroll firmly believes that the bracelets make the world a better place by not only improving the living conditions of families in Afghanistan, but also transforming hearts and minds in America. For the families of service members killed in Afghanistan, the bracelets are one way of helping carry on their loved one's service. "The best way to honor our fallen loved ones is to continue their legacy and hold up their mission. Their lives were about making the world a better place," says Carroll. H The program teaches women specialized skills. • The literacy program helps children achieve education. • Having a job and an income gives widows access to healthcare for themselves and their children. SEPTEMBER 2018 / MILITARYSPOUSE.COM 19

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