In the mountains of Northern Ethiopia, farmers supply bead makers with artillery shells (from former war conflicts) that are found on their lands. Through traditional techniques passed down for generations, the village artisans melt these shells down to produce handmade, delicate beads. The beads go through several stages to achieve the final polished look, and then they are taken to the women in our jewelry partnership on Entoto Mountain. The Entoto Mountain is a place where those suffering with HIV/AIDS (ostracized by their family + society) come because they believe there is "holy water" that might cure them of their disease. Most women are uneducated about their disease and resort to begging in order to survive. Our partnership helps employ women from this area and also provides HIV care and educational opportunities for their whole family. These women skillfully create our exclusive jewelry designs in a loving, community environment. What was once intended for harm now brings hope and life.
To read more about the bead-making process, check out this blog entry.