BeadForLife: Eradicating Poverty one Bead at a Time


BeadforLife eradicates extreme poverty by creating bridges of understanding between impoverished Africans and concerned world citizens. Ugandan women turn colorful recycled paper into beautiful beads, and people who care open their hearts, homes and communities to buy and sell the beads.

The beads thus become income, food, medicine, school fees — and hope. It is a small miracle that enriches us all.

All profits from BeadforLife are invested in community development projects that generate income and help people work their way out of poverty.

I had the good fortune to attend a BeadForLife bead party, given by a coworker who is also very active in her church.  My coworker sold over $1,500 worth of jewelry, all of which goes back to the BeadForLife organization.  I bought several pieces for myself.

BeadParties are held in homes, churches, schools and at a variety of other venues where you and your guests can purchase BeadforLife jewelry, including, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, as well as loose beads, music CDs and note cards. There is no cost to you and we will send you everything you need to host a fantastic and successful party including: educational materials, Ugandan recipes, biographies of the beaders, African music CD, pricing, pre-paid return label, gift tags and our inspirational DVD.


Jewelry can also be purchased directly from the BeadForLife online store.  They are truly amazing, these beads and these women.  Each bead is made from hand-rolled strips of magazine paper.  The beaders buy used magazines at the local market for the purpose of turning into jewelry.  The strips are cut into elongated triangles, are rolled up and then coated with glue (think quilling and decopage).  Once they have dried, the beads are then assembled into jewelry.

BeadForLife is a member of the Fair Trade Federation.

Spotlight: PurrfectlyDivine

Frosted Circles and Crystals Bracelet

Frosted Circles and Crystals Bracelet

Name:  Donna Marsh

Etsy shop name: Purrfectlydevine’s Jewelry Designs


Blog: Life As I Experience It



purple and teal sensation

purple and teal sensation

  • What kind of materials do you use in your creations?

My favorite materials are Swarovski crystals, pearls, and silver.  I use some semi-precious stones.

  • How did you get into this form of art?

I bought a pretty bracelet that was strung on stretchy cord and it broke.   I wanted to learn how to fix it and add a clasp.  So, I took a basic beading class, bought a tool kit.  Then I bought so many beads and crystals, I had to make pieces to sell because there was no way I could wear all of the pieces I’ve made.  Sales help finance my “habit” of wanting to buy all of the pretty offerings at my local bead store.

  • What inspires you? Do you have a plan before you make a piece, or do the materials “speak” to you?

My inspiration comes from many sources.  Sometimes I’ll see a piece in a bead magazine and one aspect of the design will fascinate me and I’ll start there and go off on my own to create something entirely different.  Sometimes I’ll have a blouse or dress that needs a necklace, so I’ll design one.  Sometimes I have a plan, which changes, since I am fairly new to beading.  There are times where my ideas require more skills than I currently possess.  Sometimes I’ll buy a component with no idea what I will do with it; I buy it simply because I like I and try to design a piece around that component.  I’m working on a piece now using a silver component that I bought because I thought it was interesting.

  • Do you have any particular influences?

 Every beading teacher I’ve had has influenced me.  My sister is a good sounding board for design ideas.

  • Do you have a certain design style?

Yes.  A great majority of my designs are all about symmetry, patterns, and balance.  While I admire others’ freeform or asymmetrical pieces, I have extreme difficulty creating such a piece.  I don’t make many big, “chunky” pieces, since I personally rarely wear such jewelry.  When my sister had an Open House for me, I had to leave my comfort zone to design larger pieces, and pieces in colors I normally don’t use, because other people do prefer larger jewelry and other colors.  Many of my designs use the cool colors that are jewel tones and variations of those colors.

  • What is your favorite technique?

Stringing, since at my skill level I am not always happy with my wire skills.  I’ve done some right angle weave and would like to learn other techniques to expand my design possibilities.                 

  • Other than Etsy, where could someone find your creations?

 Right now, only on etsy, although I have looked and am still looking into other venues.  I did two Open Houses last December and did quite well.  I would love to find a place to sell my pieces on consignment.  Because of a full-time job, a part-time job, and preparing for my daughter’s wedding (I’m making her veil, embellishing her tiara, and making the jewelry for the bridal party) I don’t have as much time as I would like to build a bigger inventory, which I think I would need to support additional venues.

Crocheted Summer Blues Necklace

Crocheted Summer Blues Necklace


Lampwork Flower Necklace

Lampwork Flower Necklace

Pearls on a wire

Pearls on a wire


Pink and purple Swarovski crystal

Pink and purple Swarovski crystal