Threads of Life brings hope for marginalised women in Nepal
Christian textile designer Fiona Courtman explains how a passion for fair trade, her own craft and making skills and health challenges for her baby daughter led her to start social enterprise Threads of Life
“Threads of Life is a venture that has been many years in the making! Since I can remember I have been passionate about textiles; from drawing, sewing and knitting in my early teens to studying a Masters in Textile Design.
“I believe we serve a creative God and I wanted to use my own creative interests to serve Him. During my Masters studies I had the opportunity to carry out a placement at the Mahalir Aran Trust, a co-operative and women’s refuge in South India. They provide tailoring training for women, restoring their dignity and hope through employment.
“This instilled in me the importance of ethical production and inspired me to set up a business with the same founding principle one day. For me this is a very practical way to act justly, and love mercy as directed in the Bible’s Old Testament book of Micah.
“The catalyst for Threads of Life came about when my daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a baby. This was a challenging time and I needed to trust God in a new way with even the smallest tasks. Each day was a new learning experience as my husband and I began the process of managing her condition: counting carbohydrates; calculating insulin doses; treating low blood sugar levels and testing her blood regularly.
“Alongside being a new mum, I put my design hat on to create a kitbag (pictured above) to carry our own daily diabetes essentials.
“I then partnered with Kathmandu-based social enterprise Purnaa for the first production run of these kitbags. Purnaa gauge their success by the lives they impact, rather than their profit margins. As a mother I was drawn to the fact that all Purnaa employees are eligible for school scholarships for their children, with the hope to empower the next generation to break free from the cycle of poverty.
“The first Threads of Life diabetes kitbags were launched on World Diabetes Day in 2020. This was a huge milestone and I was grateful to God for enabling the venture to take off and impact the lives of marginalised people in Nepal. People living with diabetes in the UK can order these beautifully made kitbags to carry their everyday testing kit.
“God is bringing new life and hope to those on the fringes of society through fair and ethical production and it is a joy and privilege to be part of it!”
In addition to diabetes kitbags, Threads of Life is about to launch a range of cases for MacBook Pro laptops. Inspire readers who would like to pre-order a case can take advantage of an exclusive earlybird discount price.
To see the full new range and for more information on the impact these purchases make, visit www.threadsoflife.co.uk
Editor Russ Bravo writes:
I tested out the Threads of Life laptop case for a MacBook Air (M1 model, 13-inch) and found it great quality and beautifully put together.
There’s an inner compartment for documents and an outer zipped pocket handy for cables, chargers and other bits and pieces. I liked the material ribbing to the zipped opening which helps prevent scratching, and was also pleased to see the case was well padded and gives good protection against knocks and jolts.
I’ll be putting in my order!