Bead for Life returns to campus

By Sara Nahrwold 

It’s not often that Ball State students can directly support people from foreign countries.

Beaded jewelry made by Ugandan women will be on sale this week, and the profits will help them to eventually open their own business.

The Social Justice League is teaming up with Students for Life to bring the products of the nonprofit organization, Bead for Life, onto campus for the third time.

“They teach women in Uganda to make this jewelry with beads that is recycled paper,” Emily Mastroianni, Social Justice League president, said. “They roll it up and make these beautiful necklaces and other things. It’s really this empowerment model that the beads get sold by people like us, then the money goes back to them and hopefully they can use it to jumpstart a new phase of their life.”

The products are made completely from sustainable materials by the women and then Bead for Life helps to get the items distributed and sold.

The women are in the program for about a year, and then they use the money to make and to start their own business or go back to school. 

The jewelry can be purchased from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Wednesday in the Atrium and Thursday and Friday in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center. 

The Social Justice League likes to help with this organization because of where the money goes, vice president Morgan Ulyat said.

“A reason why we like this organization is because not much of the money goes to the people who work in the organization; most of it goes to the women who actually do the work,” Ulyat said. 

The nonprofit organization usually sends the group about 250 items of jewelry and only 10 or 20 are sent back. The process to help the organization is very simple, Mastroianni said. 

“They send you a giant bead kit, and you sell the products for them, and then as long as you send all the money back in the allotted amount of time, it doesn’t really cost for you to sell for them,” she said. 

The Social Justice League chooses a focus for each year, and this year’s theme is ‘think global, act local.’ The members hope that students act and open their wallets and purchase the items made by the women, Ulyat said.

“I know we tend to get wrapped up in what is going on in our lives; we tend to be really tight with money and are really worried about our own problems,” Ulyat said. “I think it is important to get students aware of how products are made and how those products affect the people’s lives who made them.”

Social Justice League stresses where the students will be buying the products from, Mastroianni said.

“I think it’s important to think about what we buy and how we interact with the global market [and] how that affects other people in the world,” Mastroianni said. “I think we often don’t think about when you see ‘Made in China’ what that means and who might be affected by that, both good and bad.”


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