Story of Hope | Maya Gurung

In Nepali, Maya's name means love. And for Valentine's Day last month, the day the world celebrates love, Maya partnered with Everday Himalaya to create beautiful, handknitted mug holders she called, "Mug and Hugs".

But this was more than just a business partnership. For Maya, creating something with her own hands was a sign of redemption. It was a sign of the hope and love that has influenced her life and brought her out of a hard season of life.

We first met Maya four years ago in the Gorkha region. She was only fifteen years old, working on a construction site breaking up rocks by hand to be used as concrete. When our paths crossed, we learned that she suffered from a rare skin disease that ate away the skin on her hands. The hands that worked so hard just to survive were also the thing that brought her the most shame, that caused her the most suffering.

"People used to tell their children not to be friends with me because they were scared they would also get the disease," she shares.

Up until the moment we met her, she was cast down because of her hands.

Now, Maya is 19 and living in the Kathmandu Valley with a loving, supportive family. She is working hard to catch up on the education she never had the opportunity to receive. And she is using her hands again. Not for hard labor as a means of survival, but to create something beautiful, that she can be proud of. On Valentine's day, Maya sold dozens of her Mug and Hug creations! Her hands, the ones that had deterred her all her life, are becoming a source of pride and a source of hope.

We're so proud of the woman she is becoming and can't wait to see all the beautiful things her hands will create!

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