Now, I've never been much of a girly girl, but I do enjoy the guilty pleasure of having a snazzy bracelet or necklace. Having been bitten by the beading bug, I used to make a lot of my own. However, now that Doodles is here, I've no time and no space to spread out.
Thank Heaven for 31 Bits! They have just launched their online store where you can buy Ecofriendly, fair trade jewelry made out of 100% recycled paper, posters, and magazines by internally displaced women in Northern Uganda.
The Uganda Story:
31 Bits explains, "Uganda has been plagued by an internal war between the government and the Lord’s Resistance Army for over twenty years. The war has caused untold numbers of abductions, torture, rape and deaths throughout the northern regions of the country. Over one-million of the Acholi people, who reside in the north, have been displaced, many forcibly entered into refugee camps. The refugee camps provide little refuge due to poor security, lack of healthcare, lack of proper sanitation, and a lack of jobs. The endemic poverty is hardest on the children who often go hungry and have little opportunities to grow out of their current situation. However, in the midst of this suffering, there are women who are finding creative ways to provide for themselves and their families through their art of jewelry. These crafts, though easily made, are very difficult to sell because there are few available markets for such items. Despite the fear of ongoing war and the struggle to provide basic necessities, there is immense hope for change.
31 Bits is centered around using the creative art and entrepreneurship already present in the women. Our goal is to help get them out of poverty, provide consistent schooling for their children, and proper nutrition and healthcare for the entire family. We do this by creating an international market and a voice for the beautiful jewelry the women are already making. All of our products are bought directly from the women, are fair trade, are made from recycled paper, and are sold in boutiques across the United States. We envision that in two years we will expand 31 Bits to partner with local Non Government Organizations to initiate and fund community based projects directed by the needs and desires of the community."
Read About the Designers
Secretly, perhaps not so now, I have a firm conviction that we can dramatically reduce the suffering and violence associated with poverty by just giving women around the world a chance to shine and thrive. Women are clever,crafty and many of us are fierce defenders and advocates for our families. The combo is a perfect recipe for success.
Not convinced? Go to the site and read about the Designers. After reading these short stories, I stand in awe. Even in the face of tragic loss these women find a way to thrive and give back. One 76 year old is a "goalie for the local widow's soccer team and volunteers at an organization that helps abused children." WOW thats a full life! Then add to that they aren't asking for a handout--- they just want you to buy their jewelry. Double WOW!
So Go Buy Something
Currently they have a large selection of necklaces. They also can double as bracelets. They are akk very affordable-- nothing over $28. Buy and know that you are definitely helping to brighten an especially dark corner of the world. http://www.31bits.com