Joan Ahimbisibwe and Teddy Namuyiga share separate but similarly inspiring stories. Both women rose from extreme poverty in Uganda and became prosperous beadmakers and entrepreneurs. Teddy's husband left her after she birthed a deaf baby, forcing her to work tirelessly for an insignificant amount of money. Joan also worked at an unsustainable wage, and things only got worse when her husband passed away from the AIDs virus. She learned that this devastating loss meant that she would be "inherited" by her husband's brother, so she fled to Uganda's capital, Kampala. There Joan also worked incessantly for very little pay until she met Bead For Life.

Both Joan and Teddy were coached and learned how to roll beads. The women’s involvement with Bead For Life taught them about business and finances and allowed them to flourish as businesswomen. Thanks to Bead For Life, Joan and Teddy have gained great experience, skills, and knowledge and are now business owners. Watch the video below to learn more details about their amazing stories:

Bead For Life’s goal is to build confidence in those who have so long lived in poverty, and to give them opportunities for obtainable success. 74% of the organization’s beaders have started their own thriving businesses. This April Teddy and Joan will engage in discussion with America on a tour of major U.S. cities.

Executive director Devin Hibbard feels strongly about Teddy and Joan’s visit. “We’ve seen women face every imaginable hardship, become empowered, and succeed wildly because they had the mindset they would succeed. At the same time, we’ve seen Americans nourished on a deep level, knowing they made a life-changing difference for such determined and dignified people. The fact that these thriving women are now coming to our country is an incredible opportunity for Americans to see firsthand how their support has contributed to real women changing their lives.”  Joan reflects, “When I think about the days when I had nothing, I feel tears in my eyes. But now that is all gone, it is my past. I am even going to America. I can’t believe it.”

The Opportunity Tour will hit the following cities:

Boulder/Denver – April 4 – 7 
Washington DC – April 8 – 11 
Pittsburgh – April 11 – 14 
New York – April 15 – 18 
San Francisco – April 18 – 22 
Los Angeles – April 23 – 25

Get your tickets to these undeniably touching events by clicking here.

Photos via Bead For Life

Tagged in: Uganda, tour, Inspiring, extreme poverty, entrepreneurs, beadmaker, beading   

The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.


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