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With the passing of my dear friend, educator and bead artist Sandy Tandler, we gratefully acknowledge the gift of thousands of beautiful beads and Thai silver with which we intend to initiate a program in the Syrian refugee camps on Jordan’s border. Women in the camps who wish to create bead art will be able to use the proceeds from their handiwork to fund the salary of an elementary school teacher for one year so that the boys and girls confined to such camps can learn to read and write. To facilitate this project in Jordan, we are grateful for the help of Muna, a Jordanian-American, who has been taking containers of food, clothing and medicine

into the camps twice yearly for the past five years. Muna’s aunt is currently building a school for refugee children in Amman, and with the support of her aunt and extended family of philanthropic minded individuals, we aim to set up a makeshift school in the camps where Muna is known and respected for her ongoing work and dedication to the plight of a devastated people.

 

We are also grateful to Jen Pleasant for her donations in the past to the refugees in Greece. Jen contributed bracelets and hair bands to the refugee women and children who were migrating to Northern Europe from the Greek island of Lesbos. The image on the signature medallion pictured a phoenix with the message “rise up.” We have asked Jen to design three bracelets so that the Syrian women will have a prototype from which to create their own “Friendship Bracelets.” These, in turn will be sold on the Internet and at appropriate venues that might include museum stores in the U.S. and outlets throughout the Middle East where there is greater prosperity.

 

As project manager for this effort, Muna will organize workshops for the refugee children to have some fun with clay and make impressions of their own hands that can be glazed and decorated. These individual pieces will then be used to decorate their makeshift school until such a time as

they can become a decorative feature of the school that is being built on their behalf. 

This will instill a sense of pride for making a contribution toward their place of education. Additionally, there will be occasions at the Arete Space, the headquarters for the fund in Mountain View, CA, to purchase hand-crafted beadwork, bracelets, or tiles, and to contribute to the funds necessary to pay the salary of an elementary teacher in the refugee camp school for one year.

Sandy was a model of goodness and of pluck, patience and perseverance, enhanced by beautiful humility.  After an emotionally trying youth, she became a much loved elementary school teacher, and then the financial and business manager of the family company, while at the same time producing and raising two marvelous children.  She was an utter gift to her family, to her children and grandchildren and to endless numbers of friends throughout her life.  She loved High Sierra backpacking, ice skating, skiing, open sea sailing, cooking, art museums, theater and music, was a highly skilled seamstress, an organizer supreme, and in her later years, became enthralled by silver smithing and jewelry making.  Sandy left us in May of 2013 due to an aggressive attack of pneumonia.  During the last ten years of her life, she created amazing numbers of beautiful chain mail necklaces and bracelets for friends and for charities, and amassed an enormous collection of beads and findings which need now to inspire young and old people to learn and find joy in the arts of jewelry making.  Her special focus is people in need, in hopes they will learn new skills and add to the support of their families.  She will be smiling broadly at those who help to enable this and at those who succeed in doing it.

Necklaces by Dianne de Laet incorporate one or more prayer beads. All proceeds will benefit Sandy's Bead Project.