The Didi Jewelry Project

Didi Jewelry Project Group Photo

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.

The Project Team

Laurel Gunnarson

Laurel Gunnarson

Founder

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.
Vinita Bahdur

Vinita Bahdur

Co-Founder

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.
Sapna Saxena

Sapna Saxena

Project Coordinator - New Delhi

Sapna is the project coordinator in New Delhi. She serves as the link between The Didi Jewelry Project and Aashiana, and she coordinates jewelry production. Sapna works hard and is passionate about helping others. She loves working with The Didi Jewelry Project and Aashiana and feels like we have all become her extended family. In Sapna's own words: "We all love and care for each other. I really find this work very satisfying and a blessing."
Cynthia Wuthmann

Cynthia Wuthmann

Business Advisor

Cynthia is the business advisor for The Didi Jewelry Project. She has 25 years of experience generating new products and consulting with business-to-business ventures and entertainment and technology companies. She is an innovator in positioning products, people and companies. Cynthia joined the team in 2015 to help grow the project. Her enthusiasm, skills, and passion are invaluable.
Emma Trotter

Emma Trotter

Project Coordinator

Emma lives in England and joined The Didi Jewelry Project and Aashiana in March, 2015. She has a strong desire to help those in need. While in India she acted as the project coordinator and manager for The Didi Jewelry Project. There are plans for her to return to India and to find more avenues for the project to sell jewelry in Europe.
Kelly Ball

Kelly Ball

Designer/Advisor

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.
Brigitt McGee

Brigitt McGee

Blogger

Brigitt is a longtime friend of Laurel's, and is excited to contribute to the Didi Jewelry Project by writing the blog. She is a talented writer who has a degree in sociology from the University of San Francisco. Brigitt works for a finance company in San Francisco and is passionate about helping others and giving back to the community.
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.