Friday, July 24, 2015

A Day in the Life of a Mzuribeads Board Member

A Day in the Life of a Mzuribeads Board Member

My name is Sharon, and some of you might know me from my days as the operator of the Mzuribeads UK online store. These days I have my hands full looking after my two small children so I no longer sell Mzuribeads, but I have stepped into an extremely interesting and rewarding role as a member of Mzuribeads’ Voluntary Management Board. 

The Board met earlier this week in Angus and Eleni’s lovely tenement flat in Edinburgh. Their flat is an eclectic mix of objects that range from bicycles hanging from the ceiling, to paper framed mirrors (very apt for people who sell paper beads), to Gustav Klimt art on the walls…..a home that tells a story of their travels and passion for all that is unique and wonderful in the world. This week we were looked after with a delicious mug of green tea, a bowl of fresh popcorn and some delicious chocolate Brownies (yes, I admit it, I ate two of them!!). 

But their lovely flat and delicious refreshments are not the only reason I make the two hour journey through rush hour traffic from Glasgow to Edinburgh to join these meetings every few months. The Board is a group of 6, soon to be 7 lovely people (Angus, Eleni, Tom, Kathleen, Alicemyself, and soon to be Debbie) who are full of ideas and enthusiasm to reinvigorate the Mzuribeads business and help our beading team in Ndejje build a strong, sustainable co-operative business that transforms their lives….to enable them to move from a life of poverty and hand to mouth existence to one where they have a reliable income, a secure future and are able to enjoy the luxury that many of us take for granted…..the ability to transform some of their hopes and dreams for their own and their children’s futures into reality. Mzuribeads are not just beautiful beads that produce beautiful jewellery. They also have the potential to build beautiful futures for the Mzuriwomen and their families. 

This Board meeting was a very exciting one. All the hard work of the volunteers during the first half of the year has paid off and we have received two large orders this week. Not only that, one of these orders is from our new Sales Partner in Australia. For the volunteers and the women in Ndejje, this is an exciting development as the more Sales Partners we have, the more we can spread the word about our wonderful beads and the bigger we can grow. And for our Australian customers, they can look forward to being able to buy our beads closer to home in the coming months when Christine gets her online Etsy store up and running. That means lower postage costs and faster delivery of your eagerly awaited bead order. Watch this space for more info on the beads’ arrival in Oz. 

So, back home to my family in Glasgow and I am armed with my action points to help ensure that the next meeting has such exciting news. For me, I have two main goals in the coming months. Firstly I will be supporting Christine to get her new Mzuribeads venture up and running in Australia. And secondlyI am on a mission to find another budding entrepreneur with a passion for our wonderful ethical beads right here in the UK to become our newest Sales Partner. Could this be you? If you think you might just be the person, then drop me a line at I’ll be eagerly awaiting your email!
Happy beading everyone!

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Have you Ever Googled Yourself?

Have you ever, in all honesty? Well I googled not myself today but my other identity, of Mzuribeads!

I scrolled down past our website, Facebook and blogspot (obviously) and suddenly I entered a time capsule. An entire collective history of our vibrant team on the world wide web; past events that Mzuribeads hosted or guest starred in; our new partners at the time that are now key members in the team; the women, these vibrant ever busy women who create the fabulous Mzuribeads with their hands; when the Cowhorn and glass beads joined the Mzuribeads family; Kirstie living in Ndejje and her exhibition full of unique creations;  photos of beads and jewellery; colours; Uganda.
So strange! Everything trapped in this invisible space.

I kinda missed that place. Angus my witness (because he is my god:), I never though I'd say least not that soon.

For you who haven't read our blog earlier this year, I paid my first visit in Uganda last Christmas, in Ndejje, in this diverse and full of challenges for my sensations place. But I would actually love to visit again. How soon I don't know. But as soon as it is possible to realise this trip again. 

Is anyone up for it? Yes, that's right! You're welcome to join us in this colourful trip. 
Uganda and Mzuribeads never run out of jobs to do or
 inspiration! Interested in beads, handmade, ethical, eco trade, photography or film making, marketing or advertising, community work or ethnology, professional or amateur, there's something for everyone. 

For me, it's about that unique experiencing of a place so richly diverse that you almost get to re-discover myself. New environment, new experiences, new self. 

Have a think ;)

Until next time,

The Misindi Falls

Stoney my fav!

The Christmas dinner

The Markets

...and the beads

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Friday, July 10, 2015

Making Social Change

Making Social Change

Mzuribeads is in its 10th year of operation in 2015, making handmade, unique and ethical beads. The group of artisans, based in Uganda, have gone through many changes, but the need for the work is greater than ever. MZURIBEADS is only one of the many inspirational projects moving away from charitable aid, and onto the concept of business enterprise for sustainable income and development. The beads have been sold all around the world, through shops and online platforms. The beads that the groups make, are a fair price, and enable families to generate enough income for food and school fees. 

School fees are on the increase and so are food prices. In Uganda with no universal health care or any local government support for families, it is a struggle to find enough on a day to day basis. In Europe, we now are watching large and powerful countries enforce austerity and poverty on Greece. The IMF is part of the troika in Europe, but also is the global organisation that ensures Uganda never can get out of debt. 

We hope our Mzuribeads platform will have a positive impact on local communities. By including people from all walks of life, we aim to create new challenges and opportunities. We believe people enjoy having the power to change an environment or system, should they wish to. This inspiration will hopefully generate talent, ideas and social change. 

Mzuribeads would like to thank all the volunteers that have contributed over the years. Without the enthusiasm and time given by so many people, Mzuribeads would not be around today. 

Mzuribeads is registered as a community non governmental organisation in Uganda. We are also a non-profit business registered in Scotland. All the staff in the UK are volunteers. We currently are recruiting for many different roles that can be found on our website (  and work with us section. It is vital for the group of artisans for Mzuribeads to grow and continue. 

Lets continue to make that impact and change! 


To generate a sustainable income by offering our customers an exciting range of top quality, fashionable and ethical products.

To promote and sustain cooperative values, upholding equality and transparency. 

To encourage community involvement in grassroots projects. Investing in local communities to maximise impact.

To provide social, learning and training opportunities, creating a community hub where individuals and groups can express themselves.

To generate employment and other opportunities.

To launch as a high-end jewellery company, focusing on African elements. Inspiring people and promoting art and culture.

To develop the company brand/image using websites, social media and other platforms. 

To enhance our Marketing campaign, establishing more customers and networks.

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

What to do with those recycled paper MUMBO JUMBO beads??

Recycled paper MUMBO JUMBO bead design idea

One super chunky ring? Super bold or what? 
Nice and simple. One ring of MUMBO Jumbo beads, finished with a few omos and a clasp for the back.
Watch this space for more design ideas. 

And if your interested in buying these pieces, not making them.

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