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Announcing… Bead for Life

September 21, 2010

In just two days, I’ll be boarding an airplane, flying across the country and spending five glorious days with the most sparkly group of friends ever. We’ll be be-bopping around downtown Asheville, North Carolina, listening to more friends speak on writing, blogging and life.

It will be magic.

But for me, attending the Type A Mom conference would be impossible without the help of some very, very special people. I’m taking two sponsors with me to Type A, and I can’t wait for you to meet them. They are both beyond spectacular.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Bead for Life.

Bead for Life began when three women visited Uganda and fell in love with the beautiful bead jewelry being made by African women. They ended up bringing beads home to America… and their friends here were also smitten.

Through a series of events, a powerful organization was built in which this stunning, handcrafted bead jewelry is only one of many crucial players.

The way Bead for Life works is that it rescues women (typically single, with young, starving children) and brings them to a safe place where, over a set time frame, they learn life and business skills to support themselves and their children. Women then graduate the Bead for Life program equipped with sustainable skills to do any number of paying jobs, thus bringing them out of poverty and into life.

One of the early stages of the program involves hand rolling these beautiful, colorful beads and crafting gorgeous jewelry from them–necklaces, earrings, bracelets.

This jewelry is then sold in the US through bead parties held in homes, churches and community groups across the country. It’s like Mary Kay or Pampered Chef… but with a purpose.

I found Bead for Life through my favorite magazine earlier this year and was immediately taken by their vision and passion for these precious ones in Africa. You know my heart for our brothers and sisters around the world and how passionate I am about sharing the resources with which we’ve been blessed. I was thrilled to partner with a group who was doing just that.

Bead for Life’s mission is to eradicate poverty around the entire planet, from Africa to America and America to Africa. We’re cooking up some ways to extend such a vision to our own neighborhoods, our own communities and those who are in need right under our very noses.

Would you like to jump aboard?

If you’re interested in buying a necklace, hosting a bead party, hearing more about the ideas Bead for Life and I are hatching for future poverty eradication efforts or if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

In the meantime, we’re giving away two handmade African necklace and bracelet sets (like these and these) to two commenters on this post. Every comment will be counted toward the giveaway, and if you tweet about it, Facebook it, blog it, etc, and then leave another comment about each form of spreading the word, you’ll receive extra entries. (You know the drill.)

Every time I wear my African paper bead jewelry (which is often) I find myself staring at each bead, imaging the woman whose fingers so deftly rolled and fashioned that bead. I wonder about her story, her life, her face, her words. I ponder what might have brought her to Bead for Life. I wonder what her future holds.

A woman with dark skin and a beatiful smile made this for me from across the ocean. And here I stand, wearing it here, a part of an effort to give her and her family a life. Just because I’m wearing a necklace. I’m in awe.

As Bead for Life founder Torkin Wakefield says, we can all do at least a little… so just do something.

Related Posts with Thumbnails


  1. Elizabeth in Alaska says:

    Ashleigh, I love your heart for these people in need. Enter me, I’d love to win… but even if I don’t, I’ll be bookmarking the site and buying a gift for someone someday soon. :)


    September 21st, 2010 at 12:36 am

  2. Elizabeth in Alaska says:

    I FB it. :)


    September 21st, 2010 at 12:37 am

  3. Grace says:

    I love your heart for the dear people around the world, Ashleigh. I know you don’t know me, but I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time and have been so blessed. (And I’m from Colorado, too!)

    I was in Uganda earlier this year for several weeks, and fell totally and completely in love. I have some of the necklaces that I bought directly from some dear women over there, and it’s such a wonderful reminder and piece of love from them. How beautiful.


    September 21st, 2010 at 1:21 am

  4. Elizabeth Kilpatrick says:

    What beautiful necklaces!


    September 21st, 2010 at 5:04 am

  5. LeAnna says:

    What a neat organization! You always inspire me with these great people you find. Have fun and the conference! Asheville is so awesome, I just love it there!


    September 21st, 2010 at 6:19 am

  6. Mariposa says:

    How beautiful! These are the type of items I don’t mind spending money on because they go toward a good cause. Thanks for sharing! :)


    September 21st, 2010 at 6:45 am

  7. Mariposa says:

    I “liked” them on FB! :)


    September 21st, 2010 at 6:46 am

  8. Kati says:

    I LOVE these. A friend wore one once and I loved it. I’ve always wanted to get one but rarely wear jewelry. I just love the cause that it supports.


    September 21st, 2010 at 7:35 am

  9. Amelia says:

    Bead for Life is amazing! My mom brought me some of their jewelry from the Boulder, CO, store, and I love it. I think it would be great to have a Bead for Life party with our local MOPS group, too.


    September 21st, 2010 at 7:44 am

  10. Meg says:

    This is beautiful — I admire your efforts to help these women create a better life for themselves and their families! I purchased a bracelet and can’t wait for it to arrive.


    September 21st, 2010 at 9:03 am

  11. Rachael says:

    This is great!

    I Tweeted and shared this on Facebook. :)


    September 21st, 2010 at 9:18 am

  12. Courtney says:

    Ashleigh, I know of adoptive families who are using this company to raise funds for adoptions as well ( is one). It is benefiting not only the women and children who are making these beads, but other children who have no means of livelihood and no family. Thank you for your support of such a great cause!


    September 21st, 2010 at 9:37 am

  13. LadyM says:

    The beads are beautiful.
    And Asheville is too–enjoy your time!


    September 21st, 2010 at 9:43 am

  14. Julane says:

    These are lovely! Thank you for sharing about them!


    September 21st, 2010 at 10:12 am

  15. Julane says:

    Posted a link on fb! :-)


    September 21st, 2010 at 10:18 am

  16. Heather @ Mrs. Southern Bride says:

    What a wonderful ministry! And such lovely jewelry. :)


    September 21st, 2010 at 10:35 am

  17. Kaycee says:

    I absolutely love organizations like this. I have a purple bracelet of Ugandan paper beads that I bought in support of an adoption on a blog I read. Which makes them twice as special to me, since it’s supporting two different amazing things!


    September 21st, 2010 at 11:06 am

  18. Mary says:

    What a neat idea! The beads are beautiful. I posted the link on facebook.


    September 21st, 2010 at 11:46 am

  19. Clara says:

    I love my Bead for Life bracelet…just gorgeous stuff.


    September 21st, 2010 at 11:48 am

  20. Shannon says:

    Love this idea and the practical way that it’s addressing the issue.


    September 21st, 2010 at 12:24 pm

  21. Shannon says:

    FB it :)


    September 21st, 2010 at 12:25 pm

  22. To Think Is To Create says:

    Beautiful!!! I can’t wait to see their things, will definitely help spread the word about this amazing organization. <3


    September 21st, 2010 at 12:52 pm

  23. Megan says:

    I love how purpose-filled everything you talk about is, from coffee to laundry to jewelry. This is so awesome!


    September 21st, 2010 at 1:18 pm

  24. kelli @ living in grace says:

    I love that you shared this with us, and I am sharing about this on Facebook. More people need to know about this amazing organization! I would be honored to wear a set of this beautiful jewelry. Honored. Blessed!


    September 21st, 2010 at 1:48 pm

  25. Anna W. says:

    I just JUST IN Asheville (well, Black Mountain) a couple of weeks ago! And the beads are beautiful– thanks for sharing!


    September 21st, 2010 at 2:24 pm

  26. Katrina says:

    ohmyword. these are beautiful!


    September 21st, 2010 at 4:22 pm

  27. Carrie says:

    Oh, I love.


    September 21st, 2010 at 4:40 pm

  28. Ginger says:

    OH….PLEASE enter me! I own one. After seeing it on your blog…my heart melted more and the dream to adopt only grew…and then after I told a friend about them I received a box for my birthday my eyes just a tad bit misted over when I saw the perfect beads ever in a red box…I wear them all the time…



    September 21st, 2010 at 4:44 pm

  29. Laura K says:

    Would love to win! What a neat cause.


    September 21st, 2010 at 7:01 pm

  30. Ginger says:

    I just blogged about it!



    September 21st, 2010 at 9:27 pm

  31. Sophie says:

    What a great organization ! I’d love to win one, I’m gonna use this webstie for christmas present too !


    September 22nd, 2010 at 5:59 am

  32. Julie Todd says:

    I’ve seen these beads. They are beautiful! I’d love to win a set.
    I love ministries like these!


    September 22nd, 2010 at 7:28 am

  33. Julie Todd says:

    I tweeted about this amazing ministry on Twitter..


    September 22nd, 2010 at 7:32 am

  34. Roberta says:

    Thank you for such a meaningful giveaway. I had never heard of this cause until my sweet friend, Ginger from Pieces of My Heart, told me all about it. Having one of these necklaces would be a blessing.


    September 22nd, 2010 at 7:51 am

  35. Amanda says:

    Very cool! There is a similar program going on in the Philippine Islands. It is helping families get out of poverty and rescuing children from dangerous child labor. The family members are able to work together to make beaded bracelets. You can read here how this program started in the Philippines:


    September 22nd, 2010 at 9:16 am

  36. Amanda says:

    Here’s a better link:


    September 22nd, 2010 at 9:18 am

  37. anneke says:

    That is so amazing!!!!!!!!


    September 22nd, 2010 at 9:40 am

  38. Mary says:

    Love this!!! So glad to find kindred spirits with the same heart for Africa as my own. As I once told you before, my heart has been there since the age of 6, and I cannot wait until the day that I finally am there, and get a chance to see what my heart left me for :p
    Be Blessed, Ashleigh!


    September 22nd, 2010 at 9:42 am

  39. Katie says:

    So lovely. And such a cause. :) You do a LOT, girl.


    September 22nd, 2010 at 10:23 am

  40. Jenny says:

    I love these! and I love this organization… wonder if they have anybody near my area :)


    September 22nd, 2010 at 10:24 am

  41. Jessica Lynette says:

    Just saw that you’ll be at Relevant – yay!! :) I just registered last night! Excited to meet you!


    September 22nd, 2010 at 12:23 pm

  42. Elspeth says:

    I love the idea so much, and these necklaces and bracelets are SO beautiful. Please count me in…


    September 22nd, 2010 at 1:15 pm

  43. Ginger says:

    I facebooked it!!



    September 22nd, 2010 at 2:48 pm

  44. Deanna says:

    What a cool ministry!
    I hope that you have a wonderful trip!


    September 22nd, 2010 at 3:19 pm

  45. Nikki R says:

    Hello I have read about these somewhere but am not sure where.They sound real neat and such a creative idea.I would love to win.Thanks for the chance.


    September 22nd, 2010 at 3:35 pm

  46. Ginger says:

    I tweeted it as well. :)



    September 22nd, 2010 at 6:56 pm

  47. Morgan says:

    What pretty beads!!


    September 22nd, 2010 at 7:58 pm

  48. Karen says:

    Love this cause…will investigate this further!! Love the colors of the beads!


    September 23rd, 2010 at 6:35 am

  49. Tweets that mention Heart & Home » Announcing… Bead for Life -- says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ginger87, Julie Todd and Ashleigh Baker, rachael c. rachael c said: Check this out, Bead for Life: [...]

    September 23rd, 2010 at 12:35 pm

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