Xiao Li still remembers when she attended her first paper-cut training class. She was unable to walk by herself and she had to rely on her younger sister to physically help her get there. Her physical limitations were caused by a serious illness she contracted in childhood and though she lived by herself, she very rarely left her apartment. She was totally reliant on her sister’s weekly visits for nearly all her daily needs.
Lao Li has recently experienced great loss. Her husband died from cancer and since that time she, too, has battled back from life-threatening surgery herself. She now lives by herself in her rural village, but she is thankful for her caring children and for the wages she earns from cutting cards.
Mrs. Tian’s husband became disabled due to a heavy-truck accident which resulted in multiple-leg fractures. Despite having several operations, he still is unable to walk without the use of crutches. Due to this accident he can no longer work and all of the financial burdens for the family—which includes three children—have fallen on Mrs. Tian’s shoulders.
Mrs. Zhang has lost much of her hearing in one of her ears due to chronic inner ear infections. Her husband has contracted ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and is now completely disabled—unable to walk normally or work outside of the home any longer. Despite this, as her husband is an only child, their family still has the responsibility of living with and caring for her husband’s elderly parents. Her mother-in-law—in her late 70s—is nearly blind and her father-in-law is in his early 80s.
Even more difficult is the fact that Mrs. Zhang’s 32-year-old son requires full-time care due to mental impairment caused by severe spasms that began when he was only 23 days old. At the time, many of her friends and relatives tried to persuade her and her husband to give their son to other people, leave him on a train, or take him to an orphanage. They even started to do these things several times, but each time, when they were about to give their son away, they changed their minds. Even though they realized the difficulties and burdens they would face as a result, they decided to keep their son and raise him themselves.
A card cutter working in her home.
The above snapshots are of four of the 31 ladies (along with four full-and part-time local staff) who currently work for Evergreen Cards in China hand-cutting greeting cards and bookmarks. Each of these four ladies have worked with us for more than 10 years and we are privileged and humbled by the opportunity we have to be in relationship with them and their families. Their gracious perseverance—and the dignity they have earned—in the face of more hardship than most of us can even imagine are a large part of the reason why Evergreen Cards has been here doing what we’re doing for the past 14 years.
Evergreen Cards’ purpose is simply this: To bring hope—both economic and spiritual—to poor families from small villages in Yangqu County, Shanxi Province, China through teaching women from families in hard situations how to hand-cut beautiful greeting cards and bookmarks.
Some of the women who hand-cut the beautiful Evergreen greeting cards.
You can read the stories of four more of our card-cutting ladies here. And, if you’re already planning to send Christmas cards this year—why not visit us online and benefit families in Shanxi by choosing from among our 22 exquisite, hand-cut Christmas card designs?
We would love to serve you and your family, too, this Christmas!
Evergreen Cards online: www.evergreencard.com (Ship to US or Canadian mailing addresses.)