Watching women transform their lives is a joyous experience—and that’s what happened on April 17 when MORE editor-in-chief Lesley Jane Seymour sat down with Teddy Namuyiga and Joan Ahimbisibwe, two Ugandan women who, with the help of BeadforLife, a poverty-eradicating organization, have lifted themselves from penury to prosperity. Joining them was Devin Hibbard, one of the founders of BeadforLife, which in 2012 won $20,000 in MORE’s Job Genius contest (it spotlighted individuals and groups who were creating jobs for women; the winner was determined by reader voting).
Listen as the two women—who had never been to the United States before this visit and who saw snow for the first time—explain how BeadforLife trained them, first to earn an income from beadmaking and then how to run businesses of their own. Now these women each own several businesses, enabling them to support their families and send their children, and the kids of other family members, to school.
If you’re as inspired as we are, BeadforLife can tell you how to help. One way you might enjoy: host a bead-selling party in your home. BeadforLife supplies a party kit, complete with merchandise to sell (beads as well as shea butter and other beauty products), African recipes and music and a video of successful Ugandan women entrepreneurs.
Devin Hibbard also updated MORE on how BeadforLife is using its $20,000 in prize money: to expand the pilot program for its BeadforLife Street Business School. This program reaches women who are not making beads but can benefit from training (in everything from bookkeeping to product diversification) to grow their small, marginal businesses. (As Hibbard explained, “a small, marginal business” might be a woman putting three tomatoes on her shawl and selling them on the side of the road.) So if you voted for BeadforLife in the contest, you can be assured they are using the money to make a difference.
Photo credit: Liz Brown