Outreach Uganda is a non-profit organization that is doing some serious good in the world. They are bringing hope and empowerment to the women of Northern Uganda by helping them create their own businesses in bead making.
In the recent years, entire communities have been rebuilding and reestablishing their lives in Uganda after the conclusion of the 20 year war in 2008. There are currently three groups of women in three different villages of Uganda, totaling more than 200 women, who are making beads. Outreach Uganda is striving to help the Acholi population rise up from poverty and continue moving forward and rebuilding their lives. These Ugandan women are responsible for the entire operation of their bead businesses including locating the paper they will use, cutting the paper into the appropriate sizes and actually rolling the beads. paper around a needle to make the actual bead. The beads are then strung onto a fishing line and treated with three coats of lacquer. Rainy weather often delays this already time consuming process because the lacquer must be completely dry between each coat. When complete, the beads are then strung to make the final necklace!
Not only are these women working to provide for their own families, many times being the only financial providers, but they are also banded together to help improve their entire communities. Each group has spearheaded different projects that have included the rebuilding of schools for the children in their community and providing training on skilled trades for other members of the community. These trades include bead making, scarf dying, computer skills and also offering English lessons. One group also spearheaded a ‘goat and poultry project’ to help provide a sustainable food source.
Happy Mango Beads is passionate about fair trade and we strive to help improve the lives of the people we do business with and those we encounter during our travels. It is inspiring to hear of other businesses who are trying to help improve the lives of people around the world, too!
You can purchase beads that were handmade by these Ugandan women by visiting the Recycled Paper Beads page on our website. All profits from these items are returned to the women who made them.
Enjoy the photos below!