I’ve always loved beads. I think most girls do.
The first beads I admired were my mother’s pop-it beads. Remember those? A big 1950′s fashion item. You could pull them apart and snap them back together to wear in various lengths. Perfect for babies who like to grab onto their mother’s necklaces No trouble with breakage; the necklace just popped open. I wish my mom had saved hers, so I could wear them to entertain my grandson next year.
When I was six, I got into stringing beads from kits. The kits contained bright colored plastic beads shaped like ziti, and plastic string we used to call “gimp.” I made some great necklaces for myself and my dolls.
And then came hippie beads. Tiny beads that we either strung ourselves onto wire or bought as necklaces pretty cheap in funky shops. And if you’d didn’t like the long strands, you could always wear a choker.
Next for me, came fancy beads, pearls one Christmas from my great-aunt. They lay nestled in a blue velvet box, and she let me know right away they were the real McCoy.
But the necklace you see above is for one of you. Those gorgeous beads were made by Ugandan women out of recycled paper Yep, paper. Check out the colors!
The necklace, purchased at my church’s Christmas bazaar, came with a tag that reads, in part:
Many of the beaders are HIV + mothers or war refugees, and all are suffering from extreme poverty. BeadforLife pays the beaders fair trade prices for their work. Because of their work with BeadforLife, their beads become income, food, medicine, homes, school fees, and hope.
You can learn lots more about BeadforLife, including how to host a BeadforLife party at home or with an organization, here on their website. Watch this video to see how the women make the beads. Many of these women, before becoming beaders, sat for hours in the hot sun and crushed rocks by hand. The quarry wages, as well as the working conditions, were miserable.
Giveaway: For a chance to win the BeadforLife necklace above, say you’d like to win by posting a comment or shooting me an email by Sunday, April 29 at noon EST. The winner will be chosen at random using an integer generator.