Threads of Meaning

Michael Daube's serves the needy with soulful scaves

Dumpster-diving in the late 1980s did not sport the shiny halo of re-use it has today: it was just plain-old dumpster diving. Except in artist and philanthropist Michael Daube’s case. His trash-bin discovery of a David Hockey drawing eventually generated the cash needed to start a 30-bed clinic in India’s poorest state, Orissa.  Through the non-profit agency Citta, which he founded and where he serves as executive director, Daube has gone on to help build hospitals, clinics, schools and orphanages – all of which are shaped and maintained by the very communities they serve.  A visit to reveals the breadth of the organization’s mission.  You will want to support their efforts to provide health care and education to the very poor in our world.
A partnership between Citta and, a website devoted to opening up avenues for “effortless activism,” has generated a new way to support Citta.  At, you can purchase a unique 100% pashmina scarf, designed by Lucy Barnes and hand knit by the women of the Citta Himalaya Women’s Center. Proceeds from each $100 scarf will fund the new Jaisalmer Women’s Center in Rajasthan, India. 
Citta and Tonic asked several creative (and famous) people to select a word that holds importance or meaning in their lives. The Himalayan women hand embroidered these especially thoughtful words on each scarf in Sanskrit – whish is simultaneously an exercise in high-quality crafting, a training experience, and an income-generating activity that allows them to contribute to their families’ well being.
Celebrities who provided words include Queen Latifah, whose chosen word is “strength,” Sting, whose chosen word is “resolve,”  Scarlett Johansson, (reuse), David Bowie (funk), Susan Sarandon (awake), Natalie Merchant (silent), David Byrne (dust), and Thandie Newton (surrender). These eight words are carefully transcribed in thread onto each scarf. The scarves themselves are made of 100% 2-ply pashmina, and are available in gray and camel.
When asked about the emphasis on words, Daube comments, “Words can be positive, powerful tools. They can mobilize a nation to independence or relay confidence to an army winning a battle against all odds. I am excited to partner with Tonic on this important collaboration which uses powerful words to provide skills and economic development for the women of the Thar Desert.” 
Ten percent of every sale will fund the new Citta Jaisalmer Women’s Center in Rajasthan, India where women will have access to classes on health, hygiene and nutrition for not only themselves but for their families as well. Another ten percent will go to The Tonic Foundation, the charitable arm of Tonic.
Visit to purchase a scarf.  See to learn more about Citta’s efforts to create infrastructure and services for the very poor.



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