Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Paper Beads From Uganda

KWITE essential BEADS are paper beads made by 30 women and one man of the Lacan Kwite tribe in the Karimbe internally displaced people (IDP) camp run by the United Nations.  This group meets 3 days a week to make beads, to socialize and to provide mutual emotional support.  The beads are made out of recycled advertising flyers. They select paper that has the range of colours that they want in the finished beads.

The advertising flyers are cut into long triangular strips using an old paper cutter.  To make the bead, they roll the paper tightly around a small stick and glue the pointed end. It is important that they are rolled tightly to ensure a quality product.  The stick is removed and they are strung on a string and dipped into a sealant and dried several times over the course of a week.

Next, the beads are restrung to make bracelets, necklaces and earrings.  Before being shipped every strand is inspected for defects and if a bad bead is spotted, the whole necklace is restrung. They are proud of their work, and are committed to making beautiful and original products.

I was introduced to these lovely beads when I received a paper bead star attached to a gift basket I was given at a holiday party late last year.  I was so intrigued, I went online to learn more about them and the people who crafted them. 

A woman from Guelph, ON discovered these lovely beads early in 2008 when she was in Uganda doing mission work at the camp.  She desperately wanted to promote and market them in Canada, so when she came home PaperBeadWorks was formed.  They are committed to fostering a sustainable business relationship with the beaders and craftspeople of Uganda to ensure longstanding employment for the community. In addition, 100% of profits are re-invested into community projects directly affecting the beaders and craftspeople.

To learn more about PaperBeadWorks and the people who make these beads or to browse the online store, go to....

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