In 2004, BeadforLife was formed to provide women the opportunity to grow by giving them the tools to launch their own businesses. In the past 10 years, members of the beading program have initiated over 2,200 micro-businesses that operate on a very small scale.

Women who are part of the beading program have one task: rolling beads. By doing this, it gives the women a consistent source of income so they are no longer living on less than a dollar a day. The beading program is 18 months long, and every year, about three to four new groups are made. Each group consists of 40 to 60 women that go through three months of training on how to bead recycled paper into jewelry.

In addition to the training that the women get for beading, they also receive training in areas like business so that they will gain the skills needed to launch their own businesses one day. So far, statistical data has proven this method to be successful.

On average, while enrolled in the beading program, women’s income increases to seven to ten times their previous income. For these women, earning a steady income means more than just having money. An income means that they can eat healthier, get the right health care, put their kids in schools and also improve the living conditions for their family.

As part of the program, women must save some of their money so it can go toward a business of their own one day. This is a requirement, because it ensures that most of the women will continue to make money after the program. The promise of a stable future, makes the longevity of the program more effective. There are common businesses that women tend to open and those are: poultry rearing, restaurants, retail stores, vegetable stands, tailoring and renting rooms in their own homes.

BeadforLife has helped thousands of women get their families out of poverty. The organization reaches more than 1.2 million people and has raised millions to fight poverty. Due to the growth and success of the organization, it has expanded its line of products. In Northern Uganda the branch of the program buys Shea nuts. Currently, BeadforLife is partnered with over 760 women to buy Shea nuts during harvest. Products made from the women in this program are available for purchase on the organization’s website.

– Brooke Smith

Sources: BeadForLife, ONE
Photo: Flickr