From March to August of this year, Newport photographer Katelin Dutton will be working with Bead For Life as a Communication Intern in Kampala, Uganda. During the duration of the internship, she will be working closely with the Deputy Director, gathering and writing stories of the women beaders as well as documenting the various programs.
Dutton will be photographing, videotaping, writing, recording audio samples and editing them to convey the women’s stories. Each week she will post the stories to the Bead For Life blog. Her mother Carol and sister Meg have been fundraising for the organization since 2007 by hosting various Bead For Life parties.
Bead For Life is a non-profit organization based in Boulder, Colorado and Kampala, Uganda. The organization is dedicated to helping women rise out of extreme poverty by training them to create beads from recycled paper into jewelry. For each woman, jewelry production is an eighteen-month program.
At the end of the program all of the money from the sales of their jewelry will be invested into a business project or the purchase of a home. The jewelry is sold at Bead For Life parties throughout the world and all of the jewelry sales go back to the women in Uganda.
Shea products, such as soap and peppermint lip balm, are sold as well. The organization also provides business development training, affordable housing, vocational training for youth and sponsor projects in health as well. Bead For Life is part of an international grassroots movement to overcome extreme poverty.
“Storytelling connects people together. It helps those of us who have not been exposed to extreme poverty understand what life has been like for Ugandan women,” Dutton said.
Many of the women have been exposed to the horrors of war; many are HIV positive. She says, “The value of the jewelry is far greater when you see the opportunities it has created!”