The Didi Jewelry Project


Our mission is to create beautiful jewelry while helping women in India create beautiful lives for themselves.  We work with women who are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS by teaching them jewelry making and then selling their products.  The main goal of The Didi Jewelry Project is to provide these women with full time employment so that they are able to support themselves and their families and lead positive, confident lives.

Laurel Gunnarson founded The Didi Jewelry Project in 2012. The Didi Jewelry Project works hand-in-hand with Aashiana, a non-governmental organization in New Delhi that serves those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. Aashiana provides monthly food rations, children’s programs, AIDS outreach education, and emotional support to over 45 families.  Through the sales of our jewelry in stores, online, at craft fairs, and through Peruvian Connection and To the Market, we are helping these women and other families affected by HIV/AIDS.

Aashiana’s funding has dried up and due to COVID-19, these families are unable to work.  Cases are rising every day in New Delhi.  Since at least of member of each of  these families are HIV positive it is very risky for the ladies to be out in the world because their immune systems are compromised. Due to these hard times we have set up a GoFundMe for these families.  You Can donate here:

 Your donations will help these families meet basic living expenses, food, water and rent.  Our aim is to help them feel safe and less vulnerable. We also strive to keep them loan-free during this pandemic and discourage panicked mass movement back to their villages which potentially exposes them to COVID-19

You can learn more about Aashiana here

Your support will help change the lives of underprivileged women and children. Thank you!



The Project Team

Laurel Gunnarson


Laurel graduated from California College of The Arts with a degree in photography and has worked with many successful jewelry companies doing production and design work. When she first went to India at 16 she was struck by the positive kindness of the people despite their poverty. After many trips volunteering with women and children in India, Laurel decided to combine her life-long love of creating jewelry with her passion for helping women in India.
Didi Jewelry Project Team Member Vinita Bahdur

Vinita Bahadur


Vinita Bahadur founded Aashiana. She is very compassionate and has spent much of her life working with NGO's and helping others. Laurel and Vinita met by chance in India in 2011 when they were both just beginning their endeavors. They decided to work together to both create The Didi Jewelry Project and help the women served by Aashiana. Vinita is a loving mother and friend to all. She is dedicated to helping those in need and has a huge heart.

Aiyesha Bahadur

Project Coordinator - New Delhi

Aiyesha is the Project Director at Aashiana – The Shelter. She serves as the main link between The Didi Jewelry Project and Aashiana and assists us with the jewelry production. Aiyesha is a compassionate and highly empathetic person who loves interacting with the ladies and helps us in encouraging them to be stronger, independent women. Over the years we have been able to create a beautiful bond with her and the ladies at Aashiana as she enjoys working with the Didi Jewelry Project and treats us like family. She also has a decade worth of experience in the Tourism & Hospitality sector, specializing in Sales & Marketing. Together we strive to increase employment opportunities for the underprivileged women in India and make them mentally and financially independent despite all the hurdles they face.
Didi Jewelry Project Team Member Kelly Ball

Kelly Ball


Kelly is a designer, advisor, and friend extraordinaire to The Didi Jewelry Project. She designs some of the pieces, reviews and provides feedback, and is Didi's number one sounding board. In March 2015 she traveled to India and to support the project. Kelly also works for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and is a skilled jewelry designer, organizer, and decision maker.
Didi Jewelry Project Team Member Rob Bardall

Rob Bardall

Web Developer/Graphic Designer

Rob is the owner of RDB Interactive, a Web Development and Graphic Design company in Sicklerville, NJ. Rob found the Didi Jewelry Project through a mutual interest and is honored to be a part of the team. So far, he has developed the new Didi logo and this website. He looks forward to continuing to work closely with the project to manage the website and take care of their design needs.