One of the things I love about the internet is learning about things I wouldn’t have known otherwise. I have learned about new restaurants, cool websites and online shops just from reading other people’s blogs and perusing Pinterest and Tumblr. One blog that I read regularly is Nora Griffin’s “Just Make Stuff.” It’s a super-cute blog full of great crafting ideas, personal stories and links to other inspiring and creative sites. Last month Nora featured a site called 31Bits, which immediately caught my interest.
31Bits is a company that sells jewelry handmade by women in Gulu, Uganda. It was started in 2007 by Kallie Dovel as a way to help the women overcome poverty by helping them sell their handcrafted jewelry. From their site:
Kallie Dovel, traveled to Uganda in the summer of 2007, getting a first-hand look at life in Northern Uganda. While she was there, she met women making paper beads but who lacked a plan to market and sell them. After spending time in their homes and hearing their stories, Kallie knew there had to be a way to give opportunities to her new friends. She brought a box of jewelry back to the U.S., and spent the next year finishing her degree and dreaming up the concept of a development organization. She brought a few friends on board and her ideas quickly evolved into 31 Bits. The girls traveled back to Uganda in August 2008, and selected six women to begin buying jewelry from on a monthly basis. Since then, we have grown to 99 women; each with a unique story of suffering that has been overcome with joy and liberation.
31Bits currently works with over 60 women in Gulu, empowering them to rise above poverty. The company purchases jewelry from each woman on a monthly basis, providing them with a consistent income. In addition, they also provide English lessons, finance training, AIDS and health education, vocational training, and a community group dedicated to giving the women counseling and leadership,
The jewelry is handmade using 100% recycled paper and other local materials. The pieces are really beautiful and Nora Griffin hosted a giveaway on her site where a commenter would be picked at random to win one of the bracelets.
Guess who won?
YEP! Winner winner, chicken dinner! That would be me. So I received this gorgeous colorful bracelet from Nora.
Believe it or not, those beautiful beads are all made of recycled paper! I know, right??
Anyway, I was so inspired by 31 Bits’ mission statement that I ordered a few bracelets. They arrived just a few short days later and I am really pleased with them. I ordered several colors of the same style so that I could mix and match them with different outfits. They arrived packaged in a handsewn, fabric pouch, which I love. I can’t wait to start wearing them all the time. =)
They have many different styles and gorgeous necklaces also. I encourage you to check out their site and maybe you’ll find something special for yourself or a loved one, and you can help out some deserving women in the process.
That’s it for now. Peace out, yo!