Yesterday I attended my friend Vicki's 31 BITS house party with the intention of buying a holiday gift or two. Instead I only bought things for myself :) The jewelry is incredibly lightweight since the beads are made of recycled paper, the colors are beautiful and the prices were extremely reasonable.
31 BITS is a socially conscious jewelry company based in Costa Mesa, CA that helps women in Uganda learn how to create and operate a self sustaining small business.
This is Stella. She is one of the 60+ Ugandan jewelery designers that 31 BITS is currently helping and traning. In Uganda life is very hard for many women because they have been displaced by war, are single mothers, cannot read or write, suffer from HIV, have limited means to earn a living and in worst case scenarios, suffer from all of the above.
A young American woman named Kallie Dovel traveled to Northern Uganda in 2007. She saw firsthand not only the beautiful paper bead jewelry the women there made, but how they didn't have a means or the training to market or sell them on an international level. She returned to the U.S. with samples of the jewelry, finished college, teamed up with some of her friends and created 31 BITS, a socially minded company that makes it possible for the women in their program to learn how to create sustainable businesses.
Not only do the women enter a four year program with the organization that gives them a monthly income for their jewelry, they also receive business training and holistic care. They learn to read and write not only their native language but English too. And many, like Stella, can finally afford to send their children to school, a necessary step to break the cycle of poverty.
For house parties hosts receive a box of jewelry, sell what they can and ship the rest back. We were also able to write thank you notes and words of inspiration that will be delivered to our designer, Stella, in Uganda. It was a very cool way to shop.
If you'd like to help this great company and the women in Uganda you can host your own jewelry party or purchase jewelry from 31 BITS online through their website at www.31Bits.com/shop or find a retailer near you.