About The Bead Project by TWOPU
In 2013, founder Holly Williamson went on a mission trip to Pader, Uganda.
Pader is a Northern District in Uganda that is native to the Acholi people. For 20 years, the people of Northern Uganda faced the atrocities of a warlord named Joseph Kony and his guerilla army, called the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA.) The LRA was infamous for kidnapping children and forcing them to kill their families as initiation into their army. They were responsible for the abduction of over 20,000 children, the murder of over 100,000 civilians, and displacement of 1.5 million people.
When Holly visited Pader for the first time, only 7 years after the LRA had been run out of the area, she saw the effects that still remained from Kony's reign of terror. She saw the isolated women, the poverty, and the need/desire for work. As she interacted with the women more and more, she knew she wanted to help. Then a local pastor confirmed Pader's reality, showing her the levels of desperation and starvation in the community. Then she knew she had to help.
Holly didn't know exactly where to begin, so she met the women on their levels and started where they were: making paper bead jewelry. Affectionately nicknamed "Momma Holly" by the women, Holly continued to develop relationships and helped the women hone their craft. She connected with a local designer in Austin to collaborate modern trends with the traditional Ugandan beads and started selling the designs in the U.S. to raise money. The Bead Project was born.
For 7 years now, The Bead Project has been employing women in Pader and dreaming of how to equip the women to succeed beyond the program. In 2018 we started offering business training and microloans. Over 50 women have left The Bead Project and gone on to start their own businesses, bringing an added level of sustainability and growth to Pader. In addition to the business trainings and microloans, the women are taught ways to smart-invest their earnings according to Pader's economy.
The Bead Project is a part of Holly's 501(c)3 non-profit called The Women of Pader Uganda, which offers additional programs and resources to the ladies and the whole Pader community.
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 and bring hope to the people of Pader