More than a t-shirt design

A story about freedom and hope

“From Sadness we can Smile” - hand drawn by Dao, A21 Survivor


It's a story about freedom and hope. Meet Dao, the survivor who inspired this collection to help other survivors just like her walk into their freedom fully restored. 

Our collaboration with A21 came about in a way that I would consider a series of divine moments. Here is the story of this special design and how it was made into a scarf, a t-shirt, a tote, and the larger collection of products that we are launching to fund A21's work.

Our My Social Canvas x A21 collection is so unique and so stunning because of the story it tells. It is about the resilience and strength of a strong and beautiful woman that wrote a letter of gratitude to A21. 

Her name is dao, she was rescued by A21 in thailand.

She wrote letters to A21 to express her gratitude. She shared that they had saved her life and her sadness had turned to hope. Dao hopes that the “From Sadness We Can Smile” collection featuring her artwork will bring other human trafficking victims to freedom.

The story behind this collection, and how we're going to support A21 and create change through fashion...

In August 2016, I was volunteering at Hillsong Conference here in NYC when the Founder of A21, Christine Caine, sat next to me during a session where Hillsong United was sharing an emotional testimony of their experience visiting a refugee camp in Lebanon. I found myself very moved by Hillsong UNITED's account of the time they spent in the refugee camp because at the time - I was actually working on a project through my company My Social Canvas to support a refugee camp in Lebanon. The project was very special. It involved fashion, but the heart and soul of it was so much more than fashion. It was about sharing a story, the beautiful story of a young girl named Rula. In the summer of 2016, we launched a silk scarf which featured the handwriting and artwork of a 10-year-old girl named Rula, who had fled Syria with her family. We were donating funds from the scarf to support the refugee camp where Rula and her family lived. When Christine sat down next to me, I shared Rula's story with her and gave her an extra silk scarf I had with me. The scarf came with a card showing Rula's original artwork which inspired the collection, it also showed her photo. Christine said she thought the scarf and message was stunning and she knew God would do great things through our work! That day, Christine gave me her email. She suggested we stay in touch and if the right opportunity came along, we should explore ways to work together in the future.

Fast forward almost two years — we are now about to launch an absolutely beautiful collection with A21 to fund their work. The collection isn't beautiful because of the products, it is the message it brings to the world that makes it special. It also features the handwriting of a young woman, but this time a human-trafficking survivor named Dao who was rescued by A21 in Thailand. Dao’s message in Thai is translated to, “From Sadness we can Smile.” This is so much more than a scarf, it is a story of freedom!

xo, Lisa - Founder of My Social Canvas