Acholi Beads – Recycling for Changing Lives
Come to meet us at Återvinningsfesten i Hornstull and get your own necklace! Or follow us online and with #JLOFbeads
On 31 May 2015, Jeremiah Lucas Opira Foundation (JLOF) launches its first Acholi Beads collection – a collection of handmade necklaces and armbands, created from old newspapers and magazines. Acholi Beads were made by a community of youngsters in Kitgum town in Northern Uganda, where they were practicing this craftsmanship in order to develop practical skills that would help them to support themselves and their families now and in the future.
Making of beads in Kitgum first started as a leisure activity, organised by local women for orphan children in the village. It was thought of as an activity that would help to get youngsters without families to spend their free time together in a creative way, and to nourish a sense of belonging to a community. The beads created by the group, however, did only stay without being practically used, and without having a broader outreach and effect.
When JLOF team visited Kitgum in March 2015 and accidentally discovered some beautiful necklaces hanging on a wall at a local cantine, the interest was attracted immediately. It first was thought to bring some of the necklaces as gifts back to Sweden, to friends and families. However, hearing the story about the group that makes them, JLOF team realized that these beads can become Acholi youngsters’ connection to the world. They could serve forwarding the message about this remote community and its efforts to create a better life. The interest that Acholi beads can generate from people around the world can not only help to support the community in material terms, but also show to the youngsters that they are not alone, and that there are people outside that care.
It is quite symbolic that JLOF can launch Acholi Beads collection during the Hornstull Recycling Festival – one of the largest recycling events in Stockholm. Acholi Beads, the beautiful necklaces and hand bands created through recycling paper by a group of young orphans in Northern Uganda which is still recovering from a bloody civil war that was devastating the region up to till 2000s, shows how recycling can facilitate creating hope for a better future. More than that – it can build a better future.
It also shows that creating hope through recycling requires a community effort. Every single participation and input counts. The work of JLOF is also a community effort: the work of foundation is based on voluntary input and time of engaged people who “recycle” their free time for a better cause.
Acholi beads now have found their way to the wider world. However, JLOF just learned that the group making them was discontinued due to the lack of funds. We thus hope that by promoting Acholi beads and distributing them to wider audiences, we will be able to raise enough funds to resume such an important community activity for youngsters in Kitgum.
Let us know what you think! Your engagement is more than welcome!