Back in March my daughter and her friends watched the Kony 2012 video on Facebook. For days we talked about what we could do to help. After a little research, we discovered that only about a third of any donation to Invisible Children would actually go to helping communities and people in Uganda, while the rest would be spent on filmmaking and campaigns to raise awareness.
I was fortunate, then, to find this blog post by Lela Barker of Bella Lucce. Lela has traveled in Africa and in her post she shares another way to directly support families in Uganda through a nonprofit called BeadforLife. They have income generating programs for women in Uganda and also offer entrepreneurial and vocational programs as well as health and affordable housing programs. Purchasing BeadforLife’s products supports fair wages for women who generally live on $1 a day, and 93 cents of every dollar donated goes into Ugandan communities.
We decided to order some of their beads to have our own beading party. The photos on the site are pretty, but the beads are stunning in person. They are made by hand from paper and no two are exactly alike (click here to watch a video showing how the beads are made). I think the girls at our party spent just as much time looking at the beads as they spent on their creations. They mostly made earrings, though there were also bracelets and necklaces. (We purchased additional beads, ribbons, elastic stretch line, and findings separately.) The loose beads also come with a packet of information, including hang tags you can include with your creations to explain the origin and significance of the beads.
I’m so glad that Bella Lucce (and Lela) shared this resource so we were able to support the women of Uganda in such a creative way. I look forward to future purchases of their beautiful beads and jewelry.