By Libby Alpert
Six months ago I sat with a Life Coach, Andi Saitowitz, to unfold my idea and share my short term and long term vision with her. I explained to her how I envision MyBeadBox starting out as a store that sells boxes with beads to mix and match, but eventually I foresee this as a platform for collaborations. While putting together my website, I made sure to mention this on my page so that it’s out there and google crawlers would know.
Time went by, we all experienced some delays with the pandemic vacation, but I leveraged this time to get all my assets in place. When my website was up and ready, I used an old offer from an SEO expert who told me: “when you’re ready, shoot me your website and I’ll give it a look”. So I updated Avner Greenwald, my SEO expert from WadiDigital, to have a look at my site and he came back with a list of quick wins. Most of them were easy to take care of, but one required a phone call. Avner and I spoke for about 20 minutes, and in those 20 minutes, Avner mentioned that he is also advising a non-profit organization named Mamapendo, who creates jewelry out of handmade beads made by Umoja women from the Namuwongo slum in Kampala Uganda. Mamapendo aims to improve the lives of refugee women from war-ridden territories and single mothers striving to give their children a proper education.
Avner made the intro and the following week Guy Snir and I met to talk business.
I looked at Mamapendo beads and saw a lot of potential to include their beads in MyBeadBox sets to create a new style of necklace. I took one necklace home to play around with and what came out of it is a new product called Mamapendo Inspiration.
$10 of all Mamapendo Inspiration sales on Mybeadbox.co will go towards Mamapendo and the Umoja tribe, supporting the underprivileged community in the Namuwongo slum in Kampala, Uganda. Check out the bead set here.
Mamapendo means The Mother of Love in the Kiswahili language and it is a handcrafted jewelry brand made by the Umoja African women and the name of an empowerment group from Namuwongo slum, Kampala, Uganda. This initiative was established in an effort to empower women of the Umoja Tribe and improve their lives, some of whom are refugees from war-ridden territories of Uganda and some of whom are single mothers struggling to give their children a proper education. Mamapendo aims to help the women meet their first and most basic need, which is to build their financial and social strength and independence. To achieve this goal, Little Light Uganda NGO invited the mothers of the children benefiting from the Little Light Education Program and initiated the Umoja empowerment group. The women chose to call this group “Umoja”, meaning “Unity”.
The group works in three main activities:
- Rolling of Beads: Women create ecological jewelry from recycled newspapers and market it both in Uganda and abroad.
- Health Care: Women attain treatment and health education regarding reproductive health, sanitation, and raising healthy children.
- Microfinance: Women save and take microloans for their personal economic development.
This peer group has become a place for the members to socialize with the other women in the community, a place for sharing experiences and ideas. It allows them to gain dignity and self-respect and to build a better social status. These amazing, strong, inspiring women manage to uphold, under the harshest of circumstances, a smile and hope in the face of all difficulties. They gather every afternoon in the space of the "Little Light" kindergarten and create, one by one, the beads that are then strung, with love and care, into these unique jewelry pieces.
MyBeadBox was founded with the aim to give women a feel-good product that allows them to spice up their look in seconds and walk out of their home feeling elevated. The basic model of MyBeadBox is a box with a selection of beads and necklaces that can be mixed and matched to add a splash of color to women's everyday style. MyBeadBox is a model meant for duplication and extension and is always on the lookout for collaborations that will benefit the greater good like underprivileged populations or recycled beads that help clean our planet. If you would like to contact MyBeadBox for collaboration ideas, please write to: email@example.com or fill out the form on the contact page.