This is my third blog post in the UGANDA SERIES: my experiences/adventures/overall takeaway of traveling to Gulu, Uganda on a mission trip to Abaana’s Hope. If you want to stay updated on the rest of this series, subscribe to my blog by clicking here!
On the property of Abaana’s Hope in Gulu, Uganda, there is an incredible organization of women called Life Beads: Stringing Lives Together.
This group of strong, amazing, and talented Acholi women create masterpieces out of strips of colored paper. I know, I didn’t quite believe it either. From handmade bowls to intricate bracelets, necklaces, and earrings; these women make true works of art from rolling scraps of paper into beads. Once the jewelry is made, it it shipped back to the U.S, where it is sold and can be shipped across the country!
Life Beads was started as an opportunity for struggling Acholi women to be able to support themselves financially. Many of the women are single mothers or have been personally affected by war or trauma. Every day, these women arrive at Abaana’s Hope to work in a safe space and can then gain the support and the materials needed to earn a consistent monthly income, shelter and food for their families, and healthcare when necessary.
I had the opportunity to sit with these women on several occasions and watch them work. One woman even taught me how to roll my own paper bead… and that is when I realized it was MUCH harder than it appeared to be. After several women laughed at my sloppy work, the woman who taught me politely and humbly said “not very good,” and I couldn’t help but laugh.
Spending time with these ladies was so eye-opening for me. The first thing that I noticed was their hearts. They are some of the kindest, most genuine people I have ever met. I was truly in awe of their joy. These women, who have gone through so many trials, were some of the happiest people I’ve ever met. Before I left, I actually had the privilege to pray over all the women at Life Beads. I felt God’s presence so strongly when I prayed over them, and I was truly overwhelmed by the feelings of peace and joy I experienced.
Please enjoy the following pictures I took of these inspiring women and the beautiful jewelry they make.
Do you want your own Life Beads Jewelry?
Are you interested in supporting these women by purchasing your own unique piece of art? Good news: Life Beads ships all around the country! With each purchase, you receive a little information card that tells you about the woman that made your unique piece of jewelry!
Click here to shop!
Do you want to hear the stories of the women behind the beads?
Click here to learn about all the Life Bead’s Women and hear their stories.