There are some moments in life that are unforgettable.
This picture was taken in 2010 at The Mission of Hope. Julie Hulstein, Vi Bella’s founder and CEO attended church there the day after meeting this precious girl, Sencia, and her brother.
The day before Julie had prayed with Sencia in her makeshift tent.
Sencia was seventeen and she believed she was too far gone for the forgiveness and grace of God.
It was because of one visit with Sencia in her “tent”, hearing her story, and seeing her struggle that our Founder and CEO Julie knew she was being called to be part of her life. But in the months following that hot day in June she also knew she was being called to something bigger- to be part of the solution to the lack of jobs and hope that ran rampant in Haiti.
Sencia became like a daughter to Julie, even calling her “Mom Julie.” She still does.
On a trip to Haiti this June, our staff got to meet Sencia, the woman who inspired Julie and created a passion, a vision, and eventually a company that would grow to employ more than 30 artisans, each with a story.
Sencia was Julie’s first encounter with the stories behind the desperate poverty in Haiti and that relationship worked on her heart to start Vi Bella Jewelry. Sencia has been a daughter, a reminder, a face behind the reason for the jewelry to begin with.
Julie is the godmother of her oldest daughter, and they have stayed connected over the years. Julie takes several trips every year to Haiti to bring materials back and forth, visit her dear friends our artisans, and she sees Sencia on almost every trip.
Their relationship is proof that long-term relationships are important, even life-changing. And that connection is what creates impact and real social change.
Today, Sencia is a Vi Bella employee.
Sencia is earning an income, creating a limited edition necklace that bears her name. She has also worked for months personally hand crafting every specially designed “Women That Soar” commemorative Vi Bella Jewelry gift for this year’s event.
We are sharing her story with you, one piece of jewelry at a time.
Because when relationships begin, so does hope. And women with hope can truly soar!
There is a quote that our dear friend, author Jennifer Dukes Lee shared with all of us this June while we were gathered there in Haiti, reflecting with our artisans:
“We wear the beautiful jewelry made by all of you. We carry your stories around our necks, and in our ears, but most importantly, we always carry you in our hearts…”
To celebrate five years in Haiti, and the community impact of Vi Bella, we designed a special, limited edition necklace that is named for and made exclusively by Sencia.
This piece carries a powerful story of the woman who inspired Vi Bella, Sencia.
Every single Sencia necklace is handmade by her in Haiti. A long silver chain carries her story with a single shell from the ocean floor just off the coast there, near where Vi Bella began.
We employed a diver from a local village to dive for these shells and with his earnings he was able to pay tuition for his son’s school. Three majok seeds are also an accent, locally sourced in Haiti.
Some of the Women That Soar Gala special guests will receive one of these meaningful pieces in their gift bag tonight. If you want your own, or want to be part of the redemption story that began over five years ago and continues today, shop at www.vibellajewelry.com. You will be equipping artisans to live more beautiful lives.