8. Beading Barriers: Educating & Empowering Girls, One Bead at a Time

Yesterday afternoon, I had the great pleasure of launching my new social initiative in partnership with She’s the First, She’s the First*{Michigan}, and Girls Group-Ann Arbor. This was the first activity in a small series of events that I will end up using to build my final class project.

ImageMy new social initiative, “Beading Barriers,” is an arts-empowerment and sustainable scholarship program for girls’ education. By crafting & selling beaded jewelery made from recycled magazine paper, the organization raises money to sponsor a year of school for a female student at the Arlington Academy of Hope in Uganda. Magazines and supplies have been donated by volunteers and a local partner, Recycle Ann Arbor.

Visit and “like” us on Facebook, here!

ImageThe reason I have chosen to focus on magazine beads is that they have already played a important role for women in Uganda in helping them beat poverty and earn money to support their families. Several other organizations (such as Bead for Life) target older women in Uganda by providing them with resources to make their own beads, while my organization is different in that it encourages young women from the local Ann Arbor community (many of whom will be the first in their families to graduate from college) to make the beads and fundraise for girls similar to them in Uganda at the Arlington Academy of Hope.

ImageThe most powerful part of the day was definitely watching the girls interact with each other and be inspired by photos of the girls we sponsor in Uganda. They had so many questions for me about my project and about college in general, and really seemed to look up to me as an older mentor. (Oh, and the most entertaining part of the afternoon was definitely during our “beading break” when a spontaneous Beyoncé dance session broke out in the middle of the room).

ImageWhile I am currently still building a separate blog for the project, feel free to track my progress here and on Facebook as I get ready to present this idea to hundreds of college students at the Clinton Global Initiative University in a few weeks!

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3 thoughts on “8. Beading Barriers: Educating & Empowering Girls, One Bead at a Time

  1. This is great Meaghan! I think your organization is wonderful and I love hearing about it I really enjoy that you incorporated a “green” element to your fundraising. (which could be a great way to market the beaded necklaces!) Also, not only to you get to sponsor girls around the world, but you get to be a mentor to women here in Ann Arbor. What a great opportunity!

  2. I loved reading this, Meaghan! This is great in terms of a blog post and project in general. The pictures made it extremely interactive and kept my attention, and I clicked on both of the links to learn more- both effective tools in a blog post. It looks like both girls from She’s the First and the girls you are working with are having a blast and doing something so great for society. You also included such a catchy title that drew me in to read this post in the first place. I love the idea of using beads as the fundraiser because it is something that will attract to girls the same age as girls you are trying to help- it really builds a sense of connection. Aside from raising money to help girls abroad, it is inspirational to see girls right here in the Ann Arbor community being inspired by you and other members of She’s the First. I think nonprofits are all about how you can be connected to the cause you are helping, and this project really exemplifies how those connections can make a difference. Once again, I love the work you are doing, I hope to maybe get involved with She’s the First myself one day soon!

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