uganda

{how it's made: paper beads}

Bukenya lives on less than a $1 a day earned from laying bricks. There are some weeks that go by where he doesn't get paid by the construction manager and he is soon sleeping on the floor of a man's house who opens his doors nightly for 40-50 homeless Ugandans.

At least, that was how Bukenya was living. Now he has a small house of his own, which he shares with his wife, Coral. He met her while she was also homeless, having been abandoned twice by men after becoming pregnant.

Paperbeads are created by rolling various lengths and colors of paper strips around a tiny toothpick. The beads are then varnished several times before they become the fashionable necklaces, earrings, and bracelets we have come to love. Coral and Bukenya are part of a group that has become a family to Noonday Collection.

"We now have a home, and we even have furniture for our home and got prenatal care for Coral's last pregnancy." All this was made possible because they learned how to roll beads out of strips of paper.

Jalia loves art and has a degree in industrial and fine art from Makere University. As a mother of young children, she desired to stay at home with them, but also needed to provide a source of income for her family. It was then that her and her husband took a course on business as ministry. As a former Muslim, with 50 siblings, she wanted to reach out to others with the love of God while empowering them with work. Once a week, these women now gather to make jewelry, laugh, cry, and share their lives together. Jalia has a dream that African Style will grow, train more women in art skills, and find a market for their productions.

"Many women who work with me are really struggling. Most of these women are widows with children; they struggle to look for rent, school fees and food. But the interesting thing is that they are very hard working and some of them have come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They are in lot of poverty. They cry to us, yet we too can not do much for them, since we are still struggling with food and rent," Jalia wrote to me in an email. "I have a dream of becoming a famous Fashion/jewelry Designer. In this way I can attract a higher market, and be able to support my people, as they work to get out of poverty, which has crippled many; brought a lot of suffering and death in my family and my country at large and I have come to hate it. My dad died 2 months ago, he was much stressed, and because when ever it rained his house would flood. The day he died, it flooded so much that it covered the house up above the windows. He left 8 young children in that house, we are doing what ever we can to help, but the situation is big. We are Trusting God in this and working harder."