As college students, we often lack spare cash to donate to our favorite causes. Usually our tight schedules don’t leave much time for volunteering, and in most cases, indifference is most apparent.
It’s not that we don’t want to help people in need. It’s that it can be hard to find practical organizations for us to take part in. We don’t necessarily need to be guilt-ridden in order for us to step up; we just need an affordable and convenient way to get involved.
BeadforLife seems to be keeping this in mind in their approach to gain support. They are a local, non-profit organization that makes it extremely simple to become an advocate for their mission.
Freshman open option student Lea Johnson sorting through various types of necklaces. BeadforLife is a Boulder-based non-profit organization which gives Ugandan women jobs rolling recycled paper into beads to be glazed and strung into necklaces and bracelets or earrings. (CU Independent/Robert R. Denton)
BeadforLife works to help women throughout Uganda gain a solid foundation to start new lives by handcrafting paper beads for various pieces of jewelry. The members receive help with opening their own bank accounts and take part in entrepreneurial training. Their finished products are sold online or at bead parties thrown by their supporters. These profits go back to the women in Uganda. After about 18 months in the program, the members graduate, with most going on to support themselves with the skills they have developed. About 10,000 families have benefited from taking part in BeadforLife.
Devin Hibbard, co-founder of BeadforLife, is currently on the ground in Uganda. She explained that the women are very aware that each bead they create is a step closer to their escape from poverty.
“Buying, wearing and sharing beads isn’t a trivial thing,” Hibbard said. “It is what is helping a woman here stand on her own two feet, start her own business and change her life.”
Necklaces, bracelets and earrings can be purchased on BeadforLife’s website or at its Boulder studio at 2336 Canyon Blvd. Suite 202. Most of their jewelry prices range between $5 and $20, making them affordable for all. For those looking to get crafty, they also sell loose beads.
If you are feeling ambitious, there is also an option to host your own BeadParty. After registering online, BeadForLife sends a BeadParty package with all of the materials that you will need to get started, free of cost. The parties are a lively way to be a part of this movement and have become one of the most successful components to raising money for the organization. Each event can raise up to $2,800.
BeadforLife has been working on a new campaign called “Wear Your Beads” that encourages everyone to wear BeadforLife jewelry on Oct. 17.
“Oct. 17 is going to be our biggest annual holiday,” said staff member Amy Yanda Lee.
Devin Hibbard also expresses her excitement for the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
“I envision that on Oct. 17, in cities around the world, women will see each other in a crowded subway, across the lobby of an office place, or as they drop off their kids at school, and recognize each others beads,” Hibbard said. “They wave and talk about how they got involved with BeadforLife and how they can fight extreme poverty.”
The team has high expectations for this day, and hope that it will get people inspired to be a part of the battle against poverty.
With organizations and opportunities like this, you don’t have to be fueled by guilt in order to get involved with charity, but empowered by the fact that you can easily make a lasting difference in people’s lives around the globe.
Wear Your Beads from BeadforLife on Vimeo.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Taylor Dunn at Taylor.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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