Talk about good karma.
After Westporter Phyllis Kurzer finished yoga teacher training, she wanted to wear a mala (a string of beads or knots, used in praying or meditating) to enhance her spiritual connection.
She could not find a mala with the unique, artistic design and metaphysical properties she was looking for. So she taught herself how to make one.
She found a source in Nepal, and created her first hand-knotted mala with a prayer box pendant.
The interest it generated launched a business. It’s called Karma Mala.
Phyllis designs every mala. She acquires pendants from India and other tribal reaches. She pairs them with beautiful semi-precious stones, hand-knotting between each bead.
It’s a meticulous process, but true to tradition.
Phyllis’ goal is to make malas that are beautiful to wear — and also offer hope to the most vulnerable people.
The Westport artist learned that every year, 20,000 girls are trafficked in Nepal. Within 2 years, most become HIV positive. By age 20, they are dead.
Phyllis discovered the American Himalayan Foundation’s Stop Girl Trafficking project. It prevents young girls from becoming victims of their family’s poverty and desperation, by putting them in school, then weaving a safety net around them.
The program provides everything a girl needs. It then mentors her, and educates her family and community about the dangers of trafficking.
There are now over 10,750 girls in more than 550 schools throughout Nepal. Once enrolled, not a single girl has been lost to trafficking.
Amazingly, Phyllis says, it takes only $100 to keep a girl safe and in school for one year.
Where does the money come from?
A lot of it comes directly from Karma Mala. Phyllis donates 100% — yes, every penny of profit — to Stop Girl Trafficking. Since she began last year, that’s over $20,000.
Phyllis has just introduced a brand-new collection. Half malas (54-bead malas that can be worn alone, or layered with others), traditional malas, wrist wraps, featherweight designs and gemstone layering necklaces are all available. They’re beautiful to wear, and functional for meditation.
Not to mention, life-changing for vulnerable, at-risk girls, halfway around the world from Westport.
(For more information or to order, click www.karmamala.com. Phyllis’ direct email is firstname.lastname@example.org. For a video on Stop Girl Trafficking, click below. Hat tip: Jamie Camche)