Recently one of our staff has been sharing photos with us of traditional African textiles. While Africa is now known for its bright, exquisite wax-printed fabrics, for many centuries the intricate art of weaving on hand looms has also been a large part of their textile heritage.
As we read through descriptions of the laborious process involved in each beautiful design, we reflected that for much of the world’s history, beauty required sacrifice. Making something beautiful rather than simply functional, whether it be weaving, embroidery, or other traditional crafts, was a long and arduous commitment.
And yet, people did (and are still doing) it anyways.
We chose the name “Loom International” because we valued this image of weaving many different threads and colors together. We saw ourselves as a tool, something we hoped would serve social innovators around the world and help them make even more beautiful things. In the past ten years, we have learned over and over again this very same truth: beautiful things take time.
A single training can challenge assumptions and open up new ideas and perspectives. But a training followed up by one-on-one coaching for six or twelve months is life changing.
An investment in infrastructure to build a new classroom or community center is a critical building block in the right direction. But a holistic focus on quality education, job skills training, child nutrition, and family health will transform communities.
Everyone who has worked on an intricate design or project knows this: you cannot rush the process. Whether you are weaving a beautiful tapestry or trying to create community models, you are building something that has never existed before. This takes time. And this is one of the many ways we learn from our partners, social innovators who have given decades of their lives to the small, steady weaving of change – until one day, we all step back in awe at the beautiful things they have accomplished.