She gathers discarded pieces of glass, grinds into a powder and puts it in clay molds. She presses it down with a battery to flatten it and puts a wooden stick in the center to make a hole. She then places it in a kiln for 10-15 minutes. The heat melts the glass pieces and creates beads. She pulls it out and when it has cooled, she sticks it in a rock tumbler where it will stay for about a week. Then she finishes it off with varnish for an added level of protect. It’s quite labor intensive but the results are a one-of-a-kind recycled glass bead.
For 20 years, the people of Northern Uganda faced the atrocities of war lord, Joseph Kony, and his guerrilla army, known as the Lord’s Resistance Army, the LRA. They were known for kidnapping children and using them as sex slaves and child soldiers to brutalize their own communities. The LRA were responsible for the abduction of over 20,000 children, the murder of over 100,000 civilians, and the displacement of 1.5 million people within their 20-year reign of terror.
Holly Williamson, while on a mission trip, visited Pader Uganda in 2013. Even though it was 7 years after the LRA had left this community, she saw 1st hand the devastation they left behind. Many women were widowed and abandoned. They carried the heaviest burden of trying to rebuild their community. Holly knew she had to do something and started the Women of Padar Uganda. They exist to ignite hope, healing, and empowerment in the women and community of war-torn Uganda by offering employment, education, programs, and projects.
The Bead Project was the first program started to fulfill two needs: employment and community. For seven years now, the Bead Project has employed over 150 women making paper and glass bead jewelry that blend traditional African crafts with modern jewelry trends.
The Marketplace is so excited to partner with the Women of Pader Uganda and support the ladies through The Bead Project. This is so much more than jewelry; it’s about offering hope and healing to a devastated community. Please take the time to view their collection. In addition to jewelry, they create recycled paper bowls that are great catch alls. If you have any gift giving opportunities coming up, please consider supporting the ladies of Pader.