One of the benefits of being a publisher is that I now have a platform to share and promote causes that empower and uplift women. So when Amy Yanda-Lee, the communications manager from BeadforLife reached out to me, I didn’t hesitate to respond and to commit to helping her spread the word about their program to help women in Uganda.
BeadforLife is a unique poverty eradication project that builds economic and cultural bridges between impoverished Ugandan women and concerned citizens worldwide. Their primary goal is to help their members become independent and self-sustaining so that they can lift themselves out of poverty.
To achieve this, the organization offers two programs: Beading & Entrepreneurial Training and their Shea Program in north Uganda. Women in the beading and entrepreneurial program use recycled paper to make beads and unique jewelry. The program participants meet biweekly where they sell their beads at fair trade prices. For their Shea program, BeadforLife buys the shea nuts that are harvested by the women and process them into shea nilotica which they use to produce their shea line. Both the beaded jewelry and shea products are marketed to women world wide who make their purchases online or at a bead party.
Most of the women that participate in the program are HIV+ or were displaced by the 20-year civil war in northern Uganda. The income generated from the program is used to pay their children’s school fees, buy medicine or invest in their farms. In addition to helping the women to generate money from their entrepreneurial endeavors, BeadforLife support the women by:
- Assisting groups of women to build agricultural businesses by helping them to access plows, oxen and organic seeds so that they can grow more food and earn additional income;
- literacy, entrepreneurial training and assistance with the opening of business bank accounts.
- Helping young girls living in the Otuke and Iganga districts to buy uniforms, mattress, broom, and a year’s supply of sanitary pads.
- Help to provide access to healthcare for malaria diagnosis, HIV testing, rubber boots to prevent snakebites, nutritional supplements and other health services.
As part of our exchange, Amy offered a sampling of the jewelry and shea products. I didn’t ask for nor was I expecting anything in return but I am so glad that I said yes. I requested jewel tones and the colors are as vibrant and rich as they are in the photographs. The quality and craftmanship is excellent and they look really great with everything that I have worn them with thus far. I like them so much in fact that I am planning to purchase a few more pieces for myself and a few more to give as gifts this Christmas.
BeadforLife provides opportunities, not handouts, by creating a global market for beaded jewelry and shea products from Uganda. You can help to empower the women of Uganda to take control of their economic futures by making a donation or purchasing their beaded jewelry, loose beads or shea products online. There are also opportunities to market their products in your home, office, church or at a community event.
BeadforLife is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with offices in the United States, France and Uganda. You can contact their US office, located in Boulder, CO at (303) 554-5901.