She could be me. She could be you. Normal women, just like you and me. Except their lives are so very different from ours. Their daily existence would try the souls of the average 'Western' woman who is so used to conveniences and freedom.
But, their future is looking bright! These very ladies that you see in these photos are being trained to learn a craft, a skill, that will allow them to earn a living and thereby break the cycle of poverty and give their families a better chance of survival.
In this case, among other things like sewing, etc., they have learned to craft old posters of all kinds into jewelry! Isn't that amazing? They somehow cut and painstakingly roll the paper into beads and fashion them into this beautiful wearable art!
ABOVE you see the ladies showing off the beads and jewelry -- many finished sets are hanging up to dry. In the picture is my dear friend Beth who has just returned from spending time with these women in Uganda and has, at their request, brought back some of their jewelry.
Beth stayed among the women and got to know them and their stories and has come back a changed person. She can't get them off her mind and out of her heart and knew somehow she wanted to do something for them.
Enter The Beautiful Life and my agreement to offer the jewelry made by these beautiful Ugandan women to the beautiful women who frequent my store, The Beautiful Life...
BELOW are many, many finished necklaces -- many of which will now be available to you through the website by next week. I don't know how many we'll actually have to sell (I'll find out tomorrow when I meet with Beth to get them and start photographing them), but however many I can sell for them, I'll be thrilled and so will these beautiful Ugandan women.
Beth is going to continue to be involved in the lives of the Ugandan women indefinitely and will be able to continue to supply me with various new creations (earrings, bracelets, etc.) as she makes her trips back and forth to Africa.
With a large percentage of the proceeds from the sale of each of these necklaces being funneled directly back to these women in Uganda, it is truly an amazing trade off that happens: You get to enjoy and wear the beautiful handwork of another woman across the world and in turn, you help change her life and empower her like never before. Sounds like a win-win trade if ever there was one.
The ladies you see here had one parting word/request for my friend Beth and this was it:
So...A necklace purchased by you becomes the start of a new 'Beautiful Life' for a fellow 'sister' thousands of miles away -- worlds away in many ways. Its a good thing.
**ALL PHOTOS WERE TAKEN IN JUNE, 2008**