We'd like to introduce you to BeadforLife, an International non-profit organization that helps women in Uganda by teaching them to create recycled paper jewelry while paying fair wages and educating them to become savvy entrepreneurs. Did you know that Boulder, Colorado is the proud host in North America for the BeadForLife headquarters? Their mission is to create sustainable opportunities for women to lift their families out of extreme poverty by connecting people worldwide in a circle of exchange that enriches everyone. In addition to lifting these women from poverty, the women gain confidence and life-long business skills. We were curious how BeadForLife began, “BeadforLife began with a chance encounter between women. Our co-founders Torkin Wakefield, Ginny Jordan, and Devin Hibbard met Millie Grace Akena while walking through a crowded Ugandan slum. They were on their way to visit a sick woman when they saw Millie sitting on the ground outside of her mud home; she was rolling small strips of paper into colorful beads in the sweltering sun. Intrigued, they stopped to talk to her." And so a great journey and a wonderful organization began.
Two BeadforLife participants, Grace "Teddy" Namuyiga and Joan Ahimbistibwe, are touring the United States the next few weeks and Boulder is fortunate enough to host them for a few days. Their tour officially kicks off with an event at e-Town HALL in Boulder tonight, April 5, 2013 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Called The Opportunity Tour Launch Party it's a great opportunity to meet the women behind the beads, and hear from these two incredible entrepreneurs who changed their lives when given a small opportunity. Find out how they earned money, learned entrepreneurial basics, and started vibrant businesses that now support their families. For more information visit: beadforlife.org
Stella Brown, a student at Horizons K-8 School in Boulder, is doing her 8th grade Aperture project to raise awareness about women in Uganda and support BeadForLife. One of the visiting participants from Uganda, Grace "Teddy" Namuyiga, paid a visit on Thursday, April 4, 2013 to Horizons. Teddy's story is a celebration to the power of the human spirit. Years ago, Teddy's husband left her after she refused to give away her youngest daughter, who is deaf. With three young children, she moved in with her aunt and was earning less than 75¢ per day. She struggled to find money to send her children to school and buy basic necessities. Then, she learned about BeadForLife and joined the non-profit organization. Within three months she was earning enough money to buy livestock (a cow), and soon thereafter purchased chickens and pig, with the goal of selling them for a profit. After much hard work, good savings habits, and newly learned business skills from BeadForLife, Teddy became a very successful and savvy business woman. And, she said "my face became happy!" Here is the wise advice Teddy gave to the Horizons students: "Never give up in life. Work hard. Think what you can do to overcome your situation. Have confidence in yourself. Be a job creator, not a job seeker. And, do not depend on anyone else. It's up to you."
Stella is hosting a Featured Bead Party this coming Wednesday, April 10, 2012 at her house where you can purchase BeadForLife jewelry. "I would love if you would come and learn about Uganda while enjoying dessert at my house. All proceeds of any jewelry sales go directly to Bead for Life, not me!" Please call 303-947-9253 for details on the party.
For more information on BeadForLife, please visit their website at: beadforlife.org/our-story