My name is Yasodha and I’m 23 years old.  My life was full of pain before coming to 30 Nov Kumaris 6Samunnat.  I was in an arranged marriage to a man with serious mental illness. He and his family tortured me and eventually my situation was so bad I decided to divorce him.

I am glad a man in my village told me about Samunnat [Ed: it was one of our board members] and I approached them for help.  They provided me with the training of Polymer clay. Each day I would ride my pushbike 15 kms each way from my parents home but I got very tired and decided to stay with a friend in a rented room in Birtamod. Unfortunately, this did not work so I shared my problem with my friends in Samunnat.

When Kopila didi heard it she invited me to stay with her in her house until the new building was completed.  I stayed with her family for three months.  Now I am very happy staying in the office room with Kumari and her son.  We have a beautiful kitchen, our room and aphoto bathroom.  I am so grateful to the friends who have donated the money to build the office home and to the board members of Samunnat who have let us stay.

I am Kumari and I have been working in Samunnat from 6 years.  I am very happy staying in the new building together with my son and Yasodha.  Our kitchen and bath room are DSCN0814inside the house which is very easy for us. We have a tap for water and when there is power electricity is available.

Before staying at the room I used to ride 13 km each way on my push bike from my parents house. It was not easy for me to stay with parents along with my son.  It was financial burden for them which I could easily understand.  Thanks to Samunnat I have relief from these problems.  I am very happy here caring for my son and looking after the building.  Slowly people visit to the office after hours and we are making friends with our neighbour.

When the next storey is built and our fence is up, we will welcome Bishnu to our family.  We will be very glad when the next storey is builtphoto because at the moment our lovely home is filled with bags of cement and building supplies!  I want to thank the friends of Samunnat and the Board members for letting us to stay at the new office.

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The conference was in the Hotel Dolmen in Valetta. It was very huge. I have never been to such hotels. One really memorable incident was the lift.  Every time, I feel very DSCN5045nervous to be on the lift on my own so I don`t want to leave Wendy Didi.  But one  day I wanted to try to be my own in the lift so I was trying to find out the button to open the door of the lift. I was pressing and pressing on the wrong side of the lift! One person saw me doing this so he showed me the right way.  I felt a little ashamed. I realized that we were from the very small village and haven’t seen like this anything before.

IMG_2496People were very friendly and lovely.  I liked to share so many things with oneIMG_2529 another and also want to make friends. It was very hard due to lack of language.  Where as I felt very proud of my English in my village but in Malta I felt like it was not enough.  I thought I needed to improve my communicating skill.  I had never attended the conference like this before so obviously it was very Big for me.  I always want to ask questions about how can we do better than we are doing now. (L: With Dan Cormier and Tracy Holmes.  R: With German artist Anke Humpert)

IMG_2570I saw very beautiful pieces of polymer jewellery and started to think of ours. Before the display I was thinking  we were very  basic  but when we sold our jewellery I feel very proud. People had admired our work. When people appreciated our work I thought of the ladies and I started to cry.  My eyes were wet every time. One other exciting event was our presentation. I felt very happy when we got aIMG_2421 standing ovation.

One thing I never forget is the breakfast items which was out of my thoughts! (R: With Cynthia Tinapple and her husband Blair Davis) [Ed: Sure wasn't much of the traditional Nepali breakfast of dal bhat to be found!]

Many times I have shared my memories of my conference stay with our Samunnat Ladies.  The first thing ladies wanted to hear was about their jewellery and what people thought of it. Second, they wanted to know what other people made and new things to learn. Thirdly, they wanted to know if people like our New Home.

I would like to thank to IPCA committee who helped us to participate in the conference. I would also like to thank you to Dear Wendy Didi for every step I took for the Malta visit. She encouraged me, took care of me.  Even crossing the road I catched her finger in Malta.  I felt very relieved and calm during our stay in Malta. As I said in our presentation:  I would never have thought that one day I would be physically present to be here in front of my dear friends.  I would never have dreamed that and it is like a miracle.  I want to say a big thank to… the IPCA who have helped me to be here…. To you all DHERAI DHANYABAD. 


I was very excited when I heard from Wendy Didi about our visit to Malta. When I heard this name I did not have any idea where it lies. I asked friends about the country but they didn’t knew.  I search on the computer finally I got it.  It was in the Europe.

(L: A selfie of two very relieved women at Dubai Airport!) Before applying for visa process I told my family and friends about our trip but still there was lot to do for the visa. It was my second visit to overseas.  I had been to Australia with my husband 4 years ago. I never thought that second time I could visit again on my own up to Dubai. It was a long journey and stressful situation to get the visa.  I could not get it in Kathmandu’s consulate office and three times my husband had to travel to Delhi. Two weeks before the conference I still did not know about my visa so we shared the situation with IPCA’s Christine Dumont.  She gave a direct call to the Malta High Commission for my visa and finally after passing through the obstacles I got the visa.  I was so grateful to Christine.  I was very happy, excited and nervous too.

When I was in Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport I cried leaving my husband and daughter back at home . I was scared because I was alone. I flew to Dubai  andIMG_2414 arrived very early in the morning where I have to meet with Wendy Didi. The Airport was so big and I was listening to the announcement where I have to get down from the bus.  I missed the gate which was one way good because I met one lovely lady  called Cynthia.  Maybe she was very close to Nepali tradition and culture because she read my face and understood how much pressure I was feeling.  We went together to my gate and found out where I had to go.  She took me all the way to the gate no 6 where Wendy Didi was.  I was so relieved to meet her there and all our eyes were full of tears.  I am still thinking and thanking to lovely Cynthia. What a coincidence Cynthia`s are always such lovely and kind person.

So it was a big relief for me after Dubai and we flew to Malta. (Part Two tomorrow!)


One of the highlights of our year is in each November when we are visited by a small group of women who visit Kathmandu and eastern Nepal as part of the Colourful Journey.  The travellers journey through wonderful and slightly off the beaten track places and then DSCN2739spend several days with us where we welcome them into Samunnat, our homes and our hearts. We teach them about Nepali culture, food and customs and share with them about their lives.  We also have a day where we help them to create their own beautiful polymer clay jewellery.  Even women who say they are not creative, go away with a beautiful pice of jewellery that they have made and wonderful memories of a very special day.

Bishnu Rai and Wendy Moore, who arrange the visit, have four more places available for thisDSC2953-S[1] year’s trip. We would love to meet you! Please visit these sites here and here to find out more about the journey and see if it is something you would like to do.  Feel free to contact Wendy here or Bishnu here for more specific information.

People who have come on this trip have loved it, some describing it as the trip of a lifetime, making comments like this:

IMG_1515What a great trip. I did the colourful journey with Wendy and Bishnu in 2012 and it was one of the most exhilarating, rewarding holidays I’ve ever taken.

Why not come and visit us this year?



In this post we wrote about being contacted by Paulette Walther of Kazuri West about selling loose beads.  We were hesitant, to say the least, but were totally won over by Paulette’s patience, transparency, clarity, and commitment to the well being of the ladies. And now, nearly two years later, the bulk of the ladies’ income, and our capacity to provide legal services, counselling, emergency support and income generation training comes from the money we make from the sale of loose beads.  We love her.

And now, she has established her presence on Facebook!  To celebrate, there is a wonderful contest where all you have to do is LIKE the new page and make a comment. For this, you are in the running to win one of three prizes:ct_paulette_helen

Helen Breil’s new e-book;

Cynthia Tinapple’s Extruder Disc set; or

5 of our beads!!!

Hope over to the Facebook page and LIKE and comment and we will have our fingers crossed for you.  Doing this means you are helping us. Tell your friends about the new Facebook page and check in regularly to learn about projects to use our beads, new products, exciting contests and lots more!

The bottom line is that the more beads we sell, the more we can do.


DSCN5088Most of the time, necessity requires that we mainly make what is needed to fill orders.  The reality of our need to earn an income to educate our children, pay for food, our health costs, and in some cases rent or a contribution to people we are staying with, means we do not often have the luxury of making items for fun.  Or of exploring new techniques and ideas. We really love it when we can though!

Last year, we learnt about faux techniques and made ivory, turquoise, coral andDSCN5092 amber look beads.  Some of these are selling as loose beads at Kazuri to our delight!  Check them our here and here.  We LOVED the ivory and bone beads though and Sita, especially, loved the necklaces we made using them.  We had a lot of fun thinking about what we could use to texture our beads and came up with some really creative things.  We also loved the effect we got when we sanded away the acrylic paint which we used in a couple of colours.  We used our own bone talismans to guide is in colour selection.

DSCN2276Over the next three days, we are putting four of our faux bone necklaces on the etsy shop. See the first one here. These were pieces where we could particularly express our individual ideas and designs and we hope they are snapped up so we can spend time making similar ones!  Wearing them for the photos, Sita said she felt strong. We hope that this is the same for the people who buy them.


Wild Things

June 5, 2014 · 0 comments

If you like our shisha bracelets but really you are more beast than Bollywood, more DSCN5067skin than bling, you will be delighted with our first NEW offering in the etsy shop.  Today we posted our Wild Thing Brass Bangle Set.  In this version, you get four bangles – two narrow and two wide, decorated with each of our four animal skin designs: Tiger, giraffe, leopard and zebra. The bangles are 7cm (just under 3″) in diameter and look fabulous with black, white or red. Or bare skin. Or anything really! They will seamlessly transition from Winter to Summer! Even though some of us have jungles not far from our home, we are glad that the only wild animal skins we see are the ones we make!

Tomorrow we will be posting the Wild Thing Bangle Trio…for those a tiny bit lessDSCN5069 wild.  These have one wide bracelet with a narrower one on either side and come with two plain brass bands.  So you can see, even though in Nepal, we wear MANY bracelets…on both arms…we do understand that you might not so and we can be accommodating.

These are the same designs we use to make the Regaliz DSCN5073slides, Rondelle and round loose beads that are available here, here or here.  So…now you can make your own necklace or earrings to coordinate with these gorgeous bangles!

A huge thank you to those who have already shopped in the one day since we re-opened. This is so gratifying!  We will tell you why it is especially good in a later post!


Don’t faint….

June 5, 2014 · 0 comments

….and thank you, thank you for your patience!!!

DSCN0608After a lengthy issue with PayPal (now resolved) and several postmistress absences, we have FINALLY re-opened our Etsy shop again.  As from today, we have many of the old favourites listed and every couple of days from tomorrow we will add some brand new goodies.

Our gorgeous shisha bangles are there, in various combinations.  You can be shy, showy or shimmery!!!  Our wonderful Jagariti beads mala, made with such love and care, are available in a range of glorious and evocative colours and, to celebrate being back on deck, we will include one shisha bracelet free with the first ten Jagariti mala sold!  We have had some touching stories told about our Jagariti mala. They have been given as gifts to people doing it tough to inspireDSCN1558 strength, resilience and to convey love and support.  There is power in these simple strands.

Our Wild Woman range is expanding and in the next few days you can see our Wild Thing bangle combinations.  These are selling like hotcakes in galleries and are great for both the Northern summer and the southern Winter! (Full of it aren’t we? But it’s true!!!)

And in case you are not excited enough, we will be listing some special One of a Kind pieces.




Here is Kopila with the lovely Kim Korringa who encouraged Cynthia to teach us to make her flower earringsThe regular reader will know that there is a close and mystical link between this blog here and Samunnat’s A Colourful Journey. If you simply can’t get enough Eurosynergy energy you may want to read this post from the other blog!

It was back home to reality with a bang for Kopila. (In the photo on the left she is enjoying Malta’s cooler weather with Kim Korringa who was her charming assistant in Maggie Maggio’s class) One seriously delayed box of clay supplies meaning we are totally out of white (despite ordering big blocks by the dozen!!) and weather that was truly awful. Unseasonably hot weather which was accompanied by swarms of mosquitoes!  Not what we wanted for the visit of Cynthia Tinapple, Blair and her other travellingIMG_2421 companions!  However, as you learn really fast in Nepal, there are a lot of things beyond your control and so Cynthia and the gang stayed as long as humanly possible then left to prepare for their trek in Upper Mustang. When she returns to internet contact, we look forward to hearing her thoughts on our new home!!  And sharing the latest photos.

One of our goals for Eurosynergy was to learn as much new information as we could that we could share with the ladies back here. It was really hard to decide what would be the best to attend given the wondrous choices and we would have liked to have been able to clone ourselves.  We did our best though and teachers were so generous in helping us work out how to best get the details over back here.  IMG_2420We felt (feel!!) a great sense of pressure to immediately be able to come home and relay ALL we have learnt but that is simply not gong to be possible. We know there will be a time of gestation (for want of a better word) and working out how to translate, at many levels, what we have learnt into information that will be useful for the ladies.  How to convey information so that they can use the strategies learnt to express their own voice.

We can’t wait to share with them the vision and scope of Dan Cormier’s Broken Internet Project,IMG_2438 the wealth of techniques learnt in workshops and seminars from Lindly Haunani, Angela Garrod, Sue Heaser, Melanie West, Maggie Maggio, Ronna Sarvas Weltman, Bettina Welker, Tracy Holmes and Dan Cormier and so many others.

It was not just the formal presentations though.  We were on the receiving end of so much generosity from so many participants.  People who had heard about the project in Nepal and wanted to help however they could. Karen Woods and Alison Gallant donated silk screens, Anke Humpert and Martina Weller donated a copy of Trends in the European Polymer Clay Scene.  So IMG_2528many more people have offered to help. And this generosity is obviously not limited to Eurosynergy. We came home to a fabulous box stuffed chocabloc full of goodies from Kimberly Idalski, Joey Barnes, Valerie Cook and Lucy and George Struncova of LC Tools. To all of you, we are so humbled, grateful and energised by this.

How we will convey all we learnt and felt and experienced to our darling ladies remains to be seen. A lot of it will happen when I (Wendy) head back in October. And maybe some of it can happen when some of you visit us when you come to trek in Nepal.  Hint, hint.

But, we think Cynthia would say, not in MAY!!

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Where do we begin?

May 10, 2014


Where do we start?  Kopila and I are back from EuroSynergy 2014 in Malta. It was absolutely amazing. We are both a bit exhausted but the joy of meeting so many of the people who have supported Samunnat was MIND BOGGLING!!!!!

Our hope was that the people there would realise what a significant part of our IMG_2560story they were.  We wanted them to see just what a difference they were making to other women. We wanted them to share our over-the-moon excitement at having our own place after so long.

Cynthia Tinapple (who is in Birtamod visiting the ladies now as we speak!!) began the conference talking about the power of story. We see every day how having a new story can transform a woman’s life.  And therefore, often her family’s story as well.  We shared Samunnat’s story…the story of individuals who weren’t sure if they were up to the task but who wanted to make a difference.  We shared the stories of some of our ladies, women who had to challenge and IMG_2455overcome cultural messages about living with violence.  We shared the story of how the care and love and support of a community of artists from all over the world kept us strong when we felt weak; provided us with energy when we felt tired; and gave us courage when we felt scared.

We also had a table to sell Samunnat products and were overjoyed to see people walking around wearing our work.  A highlight was when a number of people told us that they didn’t buy our pieces just to help us but because they were lovely pieces of jewellery that they were delighted to wear! This meant so much to us!IMG_2476  Every single one of the flower mala in this post sold!!!

To actually MEET some of our friends face to face was…hard to put into words….humbling.  Many tears were shed.

We attended workshops which were so valuable-packed IMG_2507full of information we can share with the ladies back in Jhapa.  People continued to be so generous and over the next few posts we will talk about this in more detail. For now, check out some of the photos and feel the lurve!

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