November 22, 2017 Valley Reporter Article

This issue of the Valley Reporter has an article about this year's International Boutique which you can read here.
 

November 2017 Letter

Our 34rd Year!!!

The International Boutique

Thank you for shopping at the annual International Boutique. This week-long event is sponsored by Amurtel, a non-profit women’s international relief and development organization. Amurtel works to improve the quality of life for women and children in the United States and around the world, as well as assisting the victims of natural and man-made disasters. Our staff are volunteers and work to empower those we serve, partnering with communities to create sustainable change.

The proceeds from this year’s Boutique will go to support a number of important projects; a few are listed here.

  • Vermont: Circle (Washington County Battered Women’s Services and Shelter), and Committee on Temporary Shelter Serving Vermont.

  • North Carolina: Programs for children living in depressed urban areas.

  • Greece: Working with refugee new mothers and pregnant women who are forced to leave their homes due to violence and war.

  • Haiti: Programs for teenage girls, micro credit finance for women, schools, children’s homes, and literacy training.

  • Thailand: A home and school for abused and abandoned children; a women’s weaving cooperative allowing single moms to support their children.

  • Nicaragua: A medical clinic outside of Managua offering both traditional and complementary care for the residents of this impoverished community.

  • Romania: Fountain of Hope- a program to help children in rural areas.

  • Peru: Hot lunch program for children and women’s cooperative for those living in extreme poverty.

  • Mexico: earthquake relief.

  • Kenya: Tana River Spirulina Project to fight malnutrition.

  • India: Schools and homes for impoverished children.

  • Puerto Rico- Power on Puerto Rico- a program to deliver 10 portable SOS units (Solar Outreach Systems) to rural areas still without power or clean water after Hurricane Maria.

By shopping here today you make it possible for us to reach more people in need. For more information, please visit our website: www.amurtel.org. Email us: info@amurtel.org. Consider making a donation to support our ongoing work - all donations are tax-deductible. Sign up for our e-newsletter.

Thank you so much for your support and best wishes for a healthy and happy holiday season.

www.amurtel.org

November 2016 Letter

Our 33rd Year!!!

The International Boutique

This holiday season, do your shopping in India, Nepal, Indonesia, Peru, Haiti, Bali, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, Borneo and Thailand, without leaving Vermont. And get great gifts at wholesale prices.

The 33th annual International Boutique begins Saturday, Dec. 3 and runs through Saturday, Dec 11. We have an amazing selection of carpets this year- over 60 new Tibetan, Kashmiri, and Persian thick pile carpets as well as Berber Kilim rugs (2x 3 to 10-15 in size). And perhaps the best selection ever of beautiful jewelry, cashmere blankets, scarves and shawls, silk, alpaca and yak wool, handbags, block-print cotton tablecloths, lacquered bamboo bowls, silk bedspreads, inlaid boxes, hand carved statues and wall art, clothes for men, women and children, musical instruments, unusual handicrafts and unique stocking stuffers and ornaments from all over the world. The Boutique is a benefit for Amurtel; all profits will go to support projects for women and children here in Vermont and around the world. There isn’t a better way to shop for the holidays and feel so good about it.

The International Boutique will be open from 10am to 8pm on Saturday, 10 to 6pm on Sunday and 10 to 6 weekdays. It will be held at the Masonic Lodge on Rte 100 in Waitsfield Village.

Call 793-2205 for directions or more information. www.internationalboutique.org

November 2015 Newsletter

Our 32th Year!!!

The International Boutique

Thank you for shopping at the annual International Boutique. This week-long event is sponsored by Amurtel, a non-profit women’s international relief and development organization. Amurtel works to improve the quality of life for women and children in the United States and around the world, as well as assisting the victims of natural and man-made disasters. Our staff are volunteers and work to empower those we serve, partnering with communities to create sustainable change.

The proceeds from this year’s Boutique will go to support a number of important projects; a few are listed here.

  • Vermont: Circle (Washington County Battered Women’s Services and Shelter).

  • North Carolina: Outdoor education for children living in depressed urban areas.

  • Greece: Working with refugee new mothers and pregnant women who are fleeing the violence in the Middle East.

  • Nepal: Ongoing earthquake relief efforts.

  • Haiti: Programs for teenage girls, self- help and micro credit finance for women, 3 schools, children’s homes, and feeding programs for refugees from the DR.

  • Thailand: A home and school for abused and abandoned children; a women’s weaving cooperative allowing single moms to support their children.

  • Nicaragua: A medical clinic outside of Managua offering both traditional and complementary care for the residents of this impoverished community.

  • Costa Rica: Women’s sewing cooperative

  • Romania: Fountain of Hope- a program to help children in rural areas.

  • Ghana: Clean Water Project, rural medical clinics, women’s literacy programs.

  • Peru: Hot lunch program for children and women’s cooperative for those living in extreme poverty.

  • Burkina Faso: Midwifery training program for village women living in the remote Sahel Desert.

  • Kenya: Somali refugee food security program, free medical care to Aids patients in the slums of Nairobi and the rural areas.

  • India: Schools and homes for impoverished children.

  • Amurt/el Disaster Relief Fund- providing immediate aid to those in need following natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc

By shopping here today you make it possible for us to reach more people in need. For more information, please visit our website: www.amurtel.org. Email us: info @amurtel.org. Consider making a donation to support our ongoing work. All donations are tax-deductible. Sign up for our e-newsletter.

Thank you so much for your support and we wish you a healthy and happy holiday season.

www.amurtel.org

November 2014 Valley Reporter Article

This year our fall travels took us to Lebanon, Malaysia and India. I was joined in the first two countries by fellow Amurtel board member Diane Alcantara. As usual with my international travels for Amurtel, time was short and the to-do list long. We had less than a month to visit projects, attend meetings and shop for this year’s International Boutique.

Lebanon

The focus of our visit here was a project for Syrian refugee children run by our partner AMURT. With their headquarters in the mountains of upper Chouf, we spent much of our time in the heart of the Druze community, about an hour outside of Beirut.

Over 2 million Syrians fleeing the civil war have poured into Lebanon so far. As most refugees had fled Syria with only the clothes on their backs, Amurt initially began helping families after they first arrived, providing clothes, household supplies and seed money to rent small apartments.

Over time, it became clear that although families were settling in, the children continued to be in a state of trauma and distress. One way children recover from the traumas of war and displacement is to attend school and become part of a community of peers. But many Lebanese schools were already struggling before the enormous wave of refugees. Now refugees fill 30% of the classes in some schools, becoming a considerable burden on strained resources. Due to this and other reasons, almost 50% of the refugee children have missed school for two or more years. And those who are able to attend face significant difficulties as a result of the horrific traumas they suffered from the war.

Amurt advocates for these children, offering psycho-social therapy to the children and their parents, and providing text books and school uniforms when necessary. If school placements are unavailable, or if a child requires special preparation and emotional assistance before entering school, then the child is enrolled in the Child-Friendly Space model.

Child Friendly Spaces

Historically Amurt and Amurtel set up Child Friendly Spaces (CFS) immediately following a disaster, as we did most recently in Banda Aceh, Myanmar, and Haiti. CFS provide a safe, nurturing environment and offers children a structured routine and engaging activities. The staff are trained to detect and respond to behaviors resulting from trauma, including, isolation, grief, and PTSD. Additionally, the program in Lebanon provides individual and group therapy for the children, and pays school fees and arranges transport for the most vulnerable children spread throughout the mountains.

We spent 4 days with the staff, children and therapists, learning the background of the crisis, the development of the program and hearing of successes and challenges of individual children and families. We were invited to observe at the CFS, which is hosted in their own school building, complete with soccer field. During our discussions concerning the overall needs of this vulnerable community, we were invited by the program director to launch an Amurtel program for the women refugees. After meeting with the women and hearing what their biggest concerns were, it was decided to begin with a project offering training to the women in sewing, thus setting up some economic security for their children and their families. I am quite excited about this new Amurtel initiative, and look forward to hearing from the women as they develop a greater sense of security and self-esteem.

Although we spent much of our time involved with the programs, we also joined the Amurt staff in an excursion to the Chouf Biosphere Reserve. What a grand adventure that was- driving up the 6,000+ mountains to sit under 5000 year old cedar trees, visiting ancient forts and temples, all the time surrounded by sweeping vistas that seemed to reach to the Mediterranean Sea .

As many of the larger markets were closed for holidays, we ended up visiting small shops scattered amongst the mountain villages- thanks to the connections and knowledge of our hosts. We were also plied with amazing meals- the local Women’s Association hosted a delicious brunch they cooked on a traditional stove, and each member of the Amurt team seemed intent on outdoing themselves in introducing us to the incredible cuisine of the region. It was a given that each meal include olives and dates (from local groves), tahini and locally grown fruit. Then there were the breads! I am sure we were waddling onto the plane that would take us on to Malaysia!

 

Malaysia

Being my first time to Malaysia, I was immediately struck by the dramatic contrasts. We stayed with friends in downtown Kuala Lumpar (KL), which is a very modern, bustling city. Side by side with gleaming shopping malls and large towers were peaceful Buddhist temples, lush green parks, complete with peacocks and other exotic birds, simple neighborhoods and always friendly people.

The first day in KL, we immediately jumped into shopping, with our first stop the Central Market. We were surrounded by goods from all over Asia and Indonesia, and even managed to buy some things from Borneo! A bit ironic, that in this very warm and humid climate we ended up buying warm woolen shawls and scarves- I’m still not sure how that happened.

One of the highlights of our visit was spending time with the Amurtel team. These dynamic women work tirelessly to provide aid to thousands after the many disasters that hit this region. They were instrumental in providing immediate relief after the tsunami in Banda Aceh and the earthquake in Padang, Indonesia. Currently they are working with displaced Sri Lankan families in Malaysia, as well as continuing on-going development programs in Indonesia. We spent two afternoons discussing Amurtel policy, strategy and approaches to the many challenges faced in disaster relief in this part of the world.

After saying goodbye to Diane, I was on my own as I flew into India. Arriving in Delhi was like coming home. But because I had spent so much time already in Lebanon and Malaysia, there were few days to shop for the Boutique before leaving for Kolkata and meetings. I found myself going into whirlwind mode- flying from shop to shop, eating breakfast at 9pm, and basically trying to fit 8 days of shopping into 4. New and different was my mantra as I explored shops in back alleys I hadn’t seen before. Exciting but at times a bit dodgy!

Before traveling, I had read about the severe flooding that had swept through Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, in September. As this is home to many of the families we often buy carpets and scarves from in Delhi, I made a point of visiting each of the merchants I knew. It was heart breaking to hear their stories and see videos of homes being washed away; entire families being displaced by the flood waters and seeing the level of destruction that has hit this lovely city. So many of the merchants had their warehouses filled in preparation for the wedding season (October and November), and so lost all their stock. No one has insurance and with the harsh winter fast approaching, things are grim for the Kashmiri people. This country reminds me a lot of Vermont in the spectacular scenery and seasons. And now like so many in Vermont after Irene, they too are having to reach deep to find the strength to push through this first difficult phase after the flood and work to rebuild.

Taking the overnight train to Kolkata gave me a chance to catch my breath before meeting with Amurtel directors from various countries. In Kolkata we reviewed long range plans for creating a leadership program for village women in countries hit by disaster, and ways to improve our programs for displaced children. It was very inspiring to hear from other team members of successful Amurtel programs in Africa, Egypt, South America, Nepal and India.

And then back to Delhi and flying home. It was a bit of a shock to go from the 93 degree weather of India to a snow storm on my arrival back in Vermont, but oh, the clean air!!! Delhi now has the dubious distinction of being the most polluted city in the world, so to take a breath of Valley air after too many days trying to breathe the pea soup of Delhi was a gift. As it is in so many ways to come home to our small piece of paradise here.

This trip moved me deeply as I met with displaced families in Lebanon, hearing the horrors they faced from war and bombs; of sitting with my team in Malaysia and listening to the challenges faced by women who fled from torture in Sri Lanka, seeing the photos of tremendous loss in Srinagar, and as always, being aware of the grueling struggle so many families, so many women and children in the streets of India, face each day just to get food.

It is with a sense of deep gratitude I can return to Vermont, but one that carries with it a continued commitment to work in partnership with those struggling against seemingly overwhelming challenges. I have a deep faith that if we all reach across and grasp the hand of another, we can make a difference. This is at the core of our work with Amurtel.

I invite you all to this year’s International Boutique- Dec 6-13 at the Masonic Lodge on Rte 100 inWaitsfield. We will be selling all the beautiful things from this trip and others made throughout the year, with the profits supporting programs for women and children here in Vermont and around the world.

November 2014 Press Release

This holiday season, do your shopping in India, Nepal, Bali, Peru, Haiti, Tunisia, Indonesia, and Thailand, without leaving Vermont. And get great gifts at wholesale prices.

The 31th annual International Boutique begins Saturday, Dec. 7 and runs through Saturday, Dec 13. We have an amazing selection of carpets this year- beautiful Kashmiri, Tibetan, and Persian thick pile carpets as well as Berber Kilim rugs (3x5 to 9x12 in size), fine silver jewelry, an incredible selection of handbags, bamboo bowls, wool pillows, block-print cotton tablecloths, placemats and napkins, silk bedspreads, Tibetan singing bowls, soft pashmina shawls, unusual toys, clothes for men, women and children, Cashmere, Alpaca and Yak wool scarves and blankets, handicrafts and unique stocking stuffers and from all over the world. The Boutique is a benefit for Amurtel, all profits go to support projects for women and children here in Vermont and around the world. There isn’t a better way to shop for the holidays and feel so good about it.

The International Boutique will be open from 10am to 8pm on Saturday, 10 to 6pm on Sunday and 10 to 6 weekdays. It will be held at the Masonic Lodge on Rte 100 in Waitsfield Village.

Call 802-496-5500 for directions or more information. www.internationalboutique.org

 

November 2014 Letter

Our 31th Year!!!

The International Boutique

Thank you for shopping at the annual International Boutique. This week-long event is sponsored by Amurtel, a non-profit women’s international relief and development organization. Amurtel works to improve the quality of life for women and children in the United States and around the world, as well as assisting the victims of natural and man-made disasters. Our staff are volunteers and work to empower those we serve, partnering with communities to create sustainable change.

The proceeds from this year’s Boutique will go to support a number of important projects; a few are listed here.

  • Vermont: Circle (The Washington County Battered Women’s Services and Shelter).

  • Lebanon: Training in sewing and creating financial stability for Syrian women refugees.

  • Haiti: Programs for teenage girls, self- help and micro credit finance for women, 3 schools, children’s homes, and summer camp for displaced children.

  • Thailand: A home and school for abused and abandoned children; a women’s weaving cooperative allowing single moms to support their children.

  • Nicaragua: A medical clinic outside of Managua offering both traditional and complementary care for the residents of this impoverished community.

  • Costa Rica: Women’s sewing cooperative

  • Romania: Fountain of Hope- a program to help children in rural areas.

  • Ghana: Clean Water Project, rural medical clinics, women’s literacy programs.

  • Peru: Sewing cooperative for hearing impaired women- hot lunch program for children and women’s cooperative for those living in extreme poverty.

  • Burkina Faso: Midwifery training program for village women living in the remote Sahel Desert.

  • Kenya: Somali refugee food security program, free medical care to Aids patients in the slums of Nairobi and the rural areas.

  • India: Schools for impoverished children.

  • Amurt/el Disaster Relief Fund- providing immediate aid to those in need following natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc

By shopping here today you make it possible for us to reach more people in need. For more information, please visit our website: www.amurtel.org. Email us: info @amurtel.org. Consider making a donation to support our ongoing work. All donations are tax-deductible. Sign up for our e-newsletter.

Thank you so much for your support and we wish you a healthy and happy holiday season.

www.amurtel.org