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!