Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Gift From Uganda

I received a gift this week that I want to share with you.  It is a necklace hand beaded in Uganda.  The beads are all handmade with paper and painted in bright beautiful colors.   The person who gave me the necklace has a daughter who spent about two years in Uganda, and she brought several pieces of jewelry and other items back with her.  I have learned that Uganda is an extremely poor country.  Many of the women there make beads and jewelry to eke out a living for themselves and their families.

I was so curious about the origins of my new necklace that I went in search of more information.  There are several groups that help these women sell and market their goods.  Outreach Uganda is one such group and is a non-profit organization based in Colorado whose mission is to empower Ugandans and help them rise out of poverty.  Their focus is on education, women's empowerment, and promoting self-sufficiency through job creation.  They have three beader groups and follow fair trade practices.  Each beader group is run much like a small business with the women choosing how to allocate their group monies and making decisions such as giving small loans to members within the group.

Today I ordered some loose beads and am looking forward to creating some beautiful designs with them.  Remember, these beads are all handmade from paper!

Bright Purple Paper Beads

Bright "Red Hat" Paper Beads

Bright Green Paper Beads

I encourage anyone who wants to help with the Ugandan cause to visit Outreach Uganda where you can learn much more than what I have described here.  You can also visit their online store and purchase loose beads as well as finished designs such as necklaces, earrings, eyeglass lanyards, beaded purses and more!

After I receive my beads I will start beading, then post some pictures of my finished designs!

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