Outreach & Community

The Path to Peace project has dramatically changed the lives of many Rwandans. From public health initiatives and HIV/AIDS care to the spirit of hope and reconciliation fostered by the weavers, the tangible and intangible impact of the project is no longer measured by individual weavers but by whole communities.

Today, entire villages have clean water because families can afford water purification tablets or bottled water, and they're happy to share with their neighbors and fellow weavers. The use of SuperNet mosquito netting, once too expensive, has helped reduce cases of Malaria, a deadly disease carried by the insects. And perhaps most importantly medical insurance, once a luxury, is now readily available and affordable to protect the weavers and their families.

Income earned while weaving Path to Peace baskets has greatly improved the lives of HIV-positive weavers. They use their earnings to better meet their nutritional needs, increasing their overall health and the effectiveness of their medication. No longer stigmatized by the community, they are instead respected for earning an income. They have their pride back, and with it hope for the future.

The project employs thousands of weavers who are organized locally in smaller weaving groups throughout the Rwanda. Amazingly, every group consists of both Hutu and Tutsi weavers, women from both sides of the 1994 conflict. They work side-by-side, weaving, talking, working to earn their livings and in the process, building durable, respectful relationships across barriers that once seemed insurmountable.


Furnishing Hope was founded to provide a home like environment for kids and families in stressful situations. The furnish homes in support of projects like Habitat for Humanity and Orangewood Foundation among others. With donated goods and money, and with the contribution of a network of designers and volunteers, they are transforming the lives of people in need in various circumstances, one room at a time.

Their recipients include qualifying new homeowners, youths emancipating from the foster care system, homeless families moving to second step homes and the developmentally disabled.

To donate or volunteer, check out their website:

Contact Information:
Furnishing Hope
3857 Birch Street, #503
Newport Beach, CA 92660-2660

Phone: 949-644-9106



For International Women’s Day 2010, the focus is on equal “rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all.”  Red Cross is calling attention to the hardships displaced women face due to armed conflicts in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Darfur. According to the International Displacement Monitoring Center, (IDMC), "Sexual and gender-based violence is one of the most pervasive violations of the rights of women and girls during armed conflict and displacement. It is often employed as a strategy of war by armed actors to gain power. Women and girls are at risk of sexual and gender-based violence in most internal displacement situations. This can include rape, forced impregnation, forced abortion, trafficking, and sexual slavery. While men and boys may also be affected, research indicates that sexual and gender-based violence predominantly affects women and girls."

While we are worlds away from all these there is something we can do. The International Women's Day website encourages us to "think globally, but act locally. Volunteer time at a women's shelter, support programs that ensure education for girls and women everywhere. It can also be something as simple as sitting down with your own daughter and make sure she knows she can stand up for anything she believes in because there are women around the world who are not so fortunate and it is our responsibility as women to make sure that their voice is heard.

For more information, check out these links:

For information and how to help:

In Orange County, Human Options is an organization that helps women who have faced domestic violence. To volunteer or help, check out their website:


There are plenty of beautiful things I can  say about the genius that is a Moen kitchen faucet. Though it may not be the most expensive fixture out there, it is certainly not cheap. The one I have is called the "Arbor," it is sleek but understated, trim but very functional. For those who go for the no-frills look, it swivels like a dream and has a pull-down spout that can spray-clean your sink and fill a soup pot in the sink, or on the counter! Will not tarnish, aerated stream, patented pause function, ADA-compliant (one-handle lever design for ease of use) . . . The list goes on.

Above, right: Photo credit: http://www.masbatecity.com/
Left: Moen "Arbor" kitchen faucet, www.moen.com. Below, right: Julien bench toilet seat, www.julien.ca

I can also tell you about a toilet that doubles as a bench finished in teak, or a showerhead big enough to "sing in the rain in." However all of that does not change the fact that there are places in this world where a bucket of artisan well water is all you get, and an outhouse that empties out into the sea is your toilet. There are places in this world where people do not have safe water to drink literally, to save their lives.

One such place is Masbate. Masbate is one of the 10 poorest provinces in the Philippine Islands. Forgotten and unbelievably underdeveloped in a country whose capital city already boasts of world-class malls, it shocked me to learn that most people there still do not have their own toilets and bathrooms. This is one of the stories I follow on a show called "Biyaheng Totoo" (Real-life Journeys) via a Filipino channel that I get on cable. In the show, journalists travel to these remote towns to investigate the sad living situation of the Philippines' poorest of the poor. Their aim? To raise awareness and bring the people's plight to the attention of rest of the nation.

For more information on these, check out these links:
View a video of the show segment on Masbate:
(Note: Dubbed in Filipino)
ONE IN EIGHT PEOPLE ON THE PLANET TODAY DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO SAFE DRINKING WATER:  Check out these links to help support the cause for clean, safe drinking water for various other places in the world.

The Unicef Tap Project- raises funds to bring safe water to children around the world.

Charity Water-their mission is to bring water to schools and help people build wells.

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