I'd like to tell you a story. Or maybe it'll turn out to be a series of inter-related and overlapping stories. I don't know.
This is not my story, nor is it one that I feel entirely comfortable appropriating. It is, however, a story that needs to be told in as many places as it can be told so, despite my misgivings, I'm going to do my best to tell it - and to treat it with the dignity it deserves.
Tanya and I recently met a fascinating and inspiring man. His name is Paul Galuak and this story belongs to him.
Paul was born in South Sudan. I don't know how old he is but I do know that he identifies himself as one of the "Lost boys of Sudan", a name that was given to the 20 000 or so children who were orphaned and displaced during the Civil War. I know that he travelled thousands of miles searching for refuge - and I know that he was one of the few who found it. After walking for what must have seemed like a lifetime, enduring hardships that can only be described as unimaginable, Paul made his way first to a refugee camp in Ethiopia and then, eventually, to Canada.
He could have let this terrible experience define him. Or he could have let it destroy him. And eiter of those responses would have been justified.
Instead, he let it inspire him. And he uses it to inspire others.
Paul is the founder of what will soon be the Pagak International School on the border of South Sudan and Ethiopia. PIS will provide a place to live and an education to orphaned and refugee children currently living in the Kule refugee camp. Already, there have been a number of successful fundraising events and the momentum just keeps building!
We were invited to a few of these events and that's how we met Paul and his team. We were so moved by the events happening in South Sudan right now and so inspired by their efforts to make a diference that we determined to get involved ourselves.
So, it gives me great pleasure to announce that, going forward, TLS Creations will be partnering with the Pagak International School. We're not sure just yet what this partnership will produce but a few things are already in the works, including:
- our handmade giftboxes, which are sold by donation, every penny of which goes directly to PIS;
- a few new products we'll be unveiling in the coming months, the proceeds from which will go to PIS;
- a few custom pieces we've created for auctions and other fundraising events
If you're interested in learning more about the school and it's mission, please visit www.pagakschool.org or ask us about it next time you see us at a show.
Here's a couple photos of some of the pieces we've already created in support of Pagak International School.