By JUDY A. TOTTS
Mary Auma rises at 5:30 a.m. to feed her chickens and work in her garden. By 7 a.m. she is weeding potatoes and sweet potatoes she grows on leased land, a job she finishes by 11 so she can walk the 2Â½ kilometers back home to make lunch for her sons when they come home from school. At 1:30 p.m., after the dishes are washed and her children are back in the classroom, she begins to roll paper into beads.
The Ugandan woman is one of about 150 who are building new lives for themselves and their families one bead at a time.
They participate in the BeadforLife program, which enables the women to earn money for living expenses and also allows many of the women to save money toward a house of their own or to continue their education, like Juliet Namata, who would like to become a teacher.
Women who earned $2 per day or less are eligible for the program.
Prior to working with BeadforLife, many women earned a living breaking rocks by hand to make gravel â€” a job that garners about $25 per month. And many are raising children impacted by the AIDS epidemic.
The Web site, www.beadsforlife.com, chronicles the womenâ€™s stories.
The beaded jewelry the women create will be available for purchase at Granger United Methodist Church.
Molly Adams, a member of the church, said hundreds of jewelry pieces will be available, and all proceeds will benefit the beaders.
â€œThe HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa is deplorable, and there seems to be so little we can do to help these people in need,â€ Adams said. â€œPurchasing this jewelry is one way that we can help.â€
What: BeadforLife jewelry sale
When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 20
Where: Granger United Methodist Church, 1235 Granger Road, Granger Township
Totts may be reached at 330-721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.