A Bead of Hope


In the Acholi Quarter of the Ugandan capital Kampala, recycled paper is saving lives.

This community, in political language, is an Internally Displaced Peoples Camp – comprising of some of the 2 million refugees from the war in Northern Uganda. Here, basic needs are limited and government welfare is nonexistent.

Project Have Hope is one of a number of private initiatives in the area designed to give people the means to make a living and to develop their community in a sustainable way. PHH’s focus is on supporting 100 women by helping to get their business ventures off the ground with micro-loans and sponsoring their children through schooling.

And so, the artisans of Acholi have come up with a novel way of making jewelry. Recycled paper is painstakingly hand-fashioned into one-of-a-kind beads. They can be bought loose (ideal for komboloi) or worked into eye-catching collars and bracelets – and they’re a physical testament to the dynamic development in Acholi. To learn more about this critically important work, read Director Karen Sparaccio’s deeply moving blog.

Single-strand necklace, 11 primary colours to choose from  – $10, through Project Have Hope’s Bead Store.

Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.