BEIRUT: Creating art from behind bars seems like an impossible task, but not to a person who believes that everyone deserves a second chance.
Sarah Beydoun, Creative Director and Founder of Sarah’s Bag, helps women prisoners to work while in jail, and to get a source of income once they complete their sentences, to push their lives on an independent and productive path.
Sarah’s Bag was launched in 2000, combining the love of fashion and art with women empowerment, and making it possible for women in prison to build a life through crafting handbags.
"I was studying for a Master’s Degree in Sociology and I spent six months working in a local NGO called Dar Al Amal for my field research. Dar Al Amal rehabilitates underprivileged women in Lebanon, teaching them skills so they can work to rebuild their lives. I was deeply affected by my time there,” Sarah told Annahar.
"I met women who told me heartbreaking stories about abuse, broken families, poverty, and violence. I felt I couldn’t ignore what I’d seen and heard and just go back to living in my bubble," she added.
Sarah’s Bags was formed by the political and social powers that kept the nation disrupted, its people continually improvising to discover routes around political and monetary difficulties.
Beydoun noted for Annahar the feeling she gets from being able to help change lives for the better.
'"It gives me a sense of purpose to hear the stories of women who have faced extremely difficult challenges like imprisonment, rape, and abuse, and then be able to help make a real difference in their lives," Beydoun told Annahar. "It reminds me to be grateful every day for what I have."
The Oslo-based establishment "Business for Peace," which bestows, every year, the Oslo Business for Peace Award "in acknowledgment of their individual and exceptional business-commendable commitment to the working of trust, security, and peace,” was awarded to Beydoun in 2016 as the first honoree from the design business.
Welcome to “Naya,” the newest addition to Annahar’s coverage. This section aims at fortifying Lebanese women’s voices by highlighting their talents, challenges, innovations, and women’s empowerment. We will also be reporting on the world of work, family, style, health, and culture. Naya is devoted to women of all generations — Naya Editor, Sally Farhat: Sally.firstname.lastname@example.org
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