BeadForLife is a non-profit that offers women in Uganda fair income opportunities through the sale of shea butter (which they make from shea nuts they gather themselves) as well as colourful beads made from recycled paper.
These products are then sold in the global marketplace, both through their online shop and through “BeadParties” that allow supporters to sell the colourful eco beads to their social circles while raising awareness.
It’s essentially a fair-trade jewellery organization—items made by people who are guaranteed fair market price—but instead of women being considered employees, they enter an 18-month program and are trained to make beads while also learning entrepreneurial and business skills. The goal is not to have all women making jewellery as a form of long-term employment, but to motivate and enable them to start a business of their own choosing.
“Our members are impoverished, hardworking and intelligent women with a strong desire to improve their lives,” BeadforLife explains. “Our members in Kampala and Iganga make beautiful handcrafted paper beads from recycled paper and turn them into necklaces, bracelets and earrings. While the farmers in Otuke collect the finest quality shea nuts which they sell to BeadforLife.”
The certified Fair Trade company is based in Boulder, Colorado and has the mission to help reduce extreme poverty (those living on $1.25 a day or less) in Uganda through what they’re calling the “BeadCircle.” The BeadforLife team is also active on Facebook (12k+ likes!) and Twitter, and has a blog and newsletter to help increase awareness.
To support BeadforLife check out their website and ‘Like’ their Facebook page.