Beads of hope africa - Our Mission

Beads of Hope Africa has a social justice purpose to provide opportunity for those in global poverty.

  1. Immediate Goal: To empower women currently living in poverty through economic opportunity.
  2. Long Term Goal:To provide scholarships for orphans/students in poverty, the most vulnerable population, through education leading to career opportunity.

Beads of hope africa - The Who, what, where, and why

WHO is Beads of Hope Africa: Michelle Boice, along with a founding group of twenty-one craft members and a panel of Ugandan advisors created the cooperative group in 2008. We continue to grow annually.
WHAT: Our mission and purpose is to help improve lives of those living in poverty in developing nations, specifically in Africa.
WHERE: Beaders are in Kampala, Uganda, where families displaced due to the internal civil war in northern Uganda now live.  Our scholarships are geared towards students in need in various regions of Uganda.
HOW: We offer solutions to poverty. 1) We do this with economic opportunity (fair trade jobs) for adult individuals to create immediate financial relief.  2) We provide educational opportunity (scholarships) for youth to create an escape from poverty.
WHY: Because we care about those in need.

How we got started - our Story

In 2008, Michelle Boice was in Uganda leading relief teams when she met a group of women making handmade jewelry from recycled paper to support their families. Displaced by Kony and the internal civil war in Uganda, many of these women are also HIV/AIDS affected.  Prior to bead making, these women were breaking rocks manually at about $1.50 a day.  Michelle created a fair trade based social justice cooperative -Beads of Hope Africa, to give the women fair trade income by getting these womens’ bead products to the global market. As a former teacher, Michelle was also concerned about a long term solution to poverty. She knew education is a part of this solution. Working through established giving partners in Uganda, we give scholarships to youth who would otherwise end up in poverty.

Social Justice - What Is it?

Social justice is based on the ideal that all people are entitled to human rights, should be treated with dignity and respect, and have the right to equal economic opportunity.

How do you accomplish social justice?

There are a variety of ways that a society can structure itself toward social justice, both in legal and social practices. We at Beads of Hope Africa use Fair Trade business practices to accomplish social justice.

Understanding Fair Trade - What is Fair Trade?

Fair Trade as defined by the FAIR TRADE FEDERATION is building long term equitable partnerships between organizations in America and developing countries.

Below is a list of the Fair Trade business practices that Beads of Hope Africa embraces:

• We insure fair pay (a living wage) in the local context. • Sustainable income (long term plans)
• Providing equal opportunities to all people, particularly the most disadvantaged
• We insure safe and healthy working conditions within the local context
• No forced or child labor. Each participant is an adult, working of free choice.
• Respect for cultural identity
• Providing financial and technical assistance to producers whenever possible. Beads of Hope Africa also provides training opportunities free of charge in order to grow the collective skill set of workers and create a community of collaborative learners.
• Education of consumers on importance of Fair Trade (and Social Justice) Beads of Hope Africa is committed to elevating those living in poverty with fair wages, educational opportunity, and equal opportunity through self -directed choices.

The majority of our beaders are women displaced by the ongoing civil war in the northern region of Uganda. Prior to beadmaking, many of these women were working at the only job they could find- breaking rocks manually in the quarries for road building. This job paid about $40 a month- or $1.50 a day. By making bead necklaces, the women can instead make five to six times that amount ($200-$300) which is a fair living wage in the local context. This is also a far less physically demanding job for the women. Some of our women make beads initially, then use their money to start other small independent businesses, like restaurants or being seamstresses.