A Global Friendship is a non-profit organization, and one among many taking a new approach to aiding poverty-stricken communities. They go about that by working with people in impoverished communities, taking local skills and turning them into the foundations for sustainable, profitable businesses that can create more and more local jobs down the road. They’ve done work in Thailand and Indonesia, setting up community-based businesses in those countries. With the Sage Braid, A Global Friendship is taking their work to the United States.
The organization is working with the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, home to members of the Lakota Sioux tribe. As you might know, Native Americans, and particularly those who live on reservations, have been hit hard by poverty, unemployment, and mental health issues, three problems that are surely connected. So, A Global Friendship is trying to set up businesses and jobs for women on the reservation with The Sage Braid, a handmade bracelet made from leather and sage grown on the reservation.
The sage is woven over the leather, and the benefits are immediately obvious – sage smells absolutely wonderful. The bracelets, which are unisex, can be ordered in one of three colors of leather – tan, latigo, or chocolate – and come with one of eight beads – brass, cloud, grass, ruby, lavender, silver, ash, or midnight. You can also get a small ‘spirit’ charm when you order a bracelet through Kickstarter. There’s even a traditional element to it – after a while, the sage will fall off, at which point you can burn it – a traditional ritual of purification in the Sioux tribe. Afterwards, you’ll still have a pretty nice leather bracelet to wear around.
The Kickstarter will go towards getting three local businesses on the reservation up and running, so they can provide a living for women on the reservation in the years to come. All the money goes into development of the reservation, whether it be the businesses themselves or for educational programs. Getting a Sage Braid for yourself will require a pledge of at least $45.