What is FLOWERS OF DX?
FLOWERS OF DX is a non-profit project founded to provide illiterate, unemployed Dongxiang (pronounced “dong she-young“) women with much-needed income, with a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem, and with exposure to God’s love in place of hopelessness and abandonment.
Traditionally, Dongxiang women embroider shoe insoles and pillowcases. The handcrafted products on this website are a trial-run as we explore the possibility of creating a future business for Dongxiang women.
Where & What is DX?
In mountainous Northwest China lives the Muslim people group, the “Dongxiang” (DX). Impoverished and poorly educated, the vast majority of the Dongxiang are subsistence farmers, with an average yearly family income less than $200. Most Dongxiang men work far from home or have abandoned the family, leaving many women as sole providers. According to the 2002 census, the average Dongxiang receives only one year of formal education, with female illiteracy over 90%. Strict adherents to Islam, the Dongxiang number nearly 600,000, and are known as a harsh and isolated people until you get to know them. Here in DX most women are idle. The men are usually out of DX working or just not around at all. Most women do some farming, but many are stuck with no income & no way to provide for them selves if the men don’t show up with cash.
After moving to DX in 2005 & spending time seeing the plight of many DX women, their lives, & their beautiful embroidery Stacy’s heart kept turning over the need & possibility of a project to employ these women.
Who Are We?
David & Stacy Deems have lived in China for 10+ years as teachers. They first came to China as singles before meeting in 2004 & marrying in 2005. David was called to work in education for the Chinese government, & was given special permission by the leaders in 2000 to enter DX. He has helped build 11 primary schools in much needed areas, act as a funnel for funds for girls’ education, teacher training, & school supplies. Stacy joined him in 2005 after marrying, & has aided his work in teacher training & teacher support.
Sassy is a fellow DX teacher but loves doing business & has a natural knack for it. Although her education level is high, her income is not & she has been blocked out of the chance to raise her monthly salary of $60. Her husband drives for a government office but they have two children & assist many of their lower-income relatives. Helping with the project gives her a chance to stay home & raise her children while earning a better income. In addition, she is INVALUABLE to Stacy in speaking the DX language, organizing the ladies, & helping with planning & design. She has a spunky personality & gorgeous smile. She is a priceless partner for Stacy.
Flower Buds: The Beginnings of FLOWERS OF DX.
A few years ago a woman (Kym Lee) came to DX from the States & after seeing the DX women embroider, collaborated with her sister on the possibility of marketing DX embroidered goods. Stacy was VERY excited about this idea but saw no way of starting. As time passed, she rolled this idea around & around & spoke to so many women who know how to embroider but don’t do anything with it. So many women who have no income. And, how through this community in a sewing room, or by traveling out to the villages to get orders, it would expand her chances to meet DX women.