As you may know, part of the joy I get out of making my creations with beads is to know that I’m also helping others. The paper beads I use in my designs are handmade by women in Rwanda, Africa. In 2011, I visited Rwanda and worked with some of the women who made many of the beads I use. I talked about them in a previous blog post. It was an awesome experience to be face to face with them and to see the joy they have.
Some of the newer paper beads I have were made by women in Rwanda who are a part of a cooperative called Buranga. Buranga is the name of the village that they have also adopted for the name of their co-op. The name “Buranga” in Kinyarwanda (Rwanda’s native language) means “beauty” and I find it very fitting. The paper beads they make are beautiful, and each one is unique. The same goes for the women in the co-op – each is beautiful and unique.
There are about 25 to 30 women in the Buranga group at any given time. Many of them are former prostitutes who have turned their lives around and are working to support themselves and their families. Their lives have changed for the better and they are learning to create beautiful products.
Recently I sent a donation to the women of Buranga to be used to further their skills in bead making and artistry. This came from a portion of the sales of items that I’ve sold in person and online through my Etsy shop and Facebook page. If you’ve purchased any of the African bead items from me, this is a thank you to you as well!!
I love having these photos to remind me of the wonderful ladies who made the beads. They are truly appreciative for the continued support of my customers. They are wearing the jewels they’ve made, and holding them in their hands, to show their happiness for the donation that will help them to enrich their skills and their lives.
You can see some of the items I’ve made and have available online in my Etsy shop. If you are interested in making a donation or in making a purchase, just let me know. Thanks for your continued support!