For over 20 years, the people of Northern Uganda faced the atrocities of warlord Joseph Kony and his rebel army, the LRA. The LRA was infamous for kidnapping children and forcing them to commit atrocities, even amongst their own people. Kony and his army were responsible for the abduction of over 20,000 children, the murder of over 100,000 civilians, and displacement of 1.5 million people within their reign of terror.
By 2006, the LRA was losing power due to intervention by global leaders and aid groups. Pader is a town within a district by the same name in Northern Uganda, and it was a camp for displaced people after the war. These camps, while helpful for keeping people safe from the rebel army, brought their own trials and tribulations in the form of abuse from corrupt leadership, disease, and STDs.
When Holly Williamson first visited Pader in 2013, she noticed the devastation that still permeated the community- isolation, distrust, and immense poverty. The women, who were often left widowed or abandoned, carried the heaviest burdens as they attempted to care for their families and community. After a local pastor made a plea for help, Holly prayerfully started The Women of Pader Uganda with The Bead Project, to offer employment and bring women together to work on a craft they already knew: paper beads.
It instantly became obvious that The Bead Project was more than just making jewelry. It fostered a sense of community, friendship, job skills, and hope. The women became eager for more opportunities, and in 2017, The Women of Pader Uganda (TWOPU) became an official 501c3 non-profit. From there, TWOPU has grown to offer more programs and projects, all focused in spiritual, business, leadership, economic, and agriculture development. Our heart in The Bead Project is to equip women to see their own potential, become business leaders, and ultimately create their own success stories!
Each purchase from The Bead Project enables us to continue our mission of bringing hope, healing, and empowerment to the people of Pader.