Cause of the Day: Project Bead Bracelets Give the Gift of Education

December 19, 2014

I love finding new look good, do good, give back brands- but what I love most is discovering each of their unique stories of how their project and cause came to be. The latest Cause of the Day story comes from Project Bead, an organization dedicated to alleviate poverty though education.

Project Bead began as the Mmofra Trom Bead Project in 2009 when Bentley University professor, Diane Kellogg, approached the future Bead Team to build a social enterprise. Since 2001, she worked with a group of her friends and family to raise funds to transform a small orphanage, once dependent on donations, into a private boarding school. Attracting tuition paying students gave the school the ability to generate sustainable income that could be used to support the original endeavor of providing for children without a  home. This school has become one of the most prominent primary schools in Ghana.

There were 15 particular students that were raised at the school and it was unclear what these students would do after graduation from the primary school. Diane and her sister Cindy had an idea to sell Ghanaian-made bracelets in the United States and use the profits to fund a high school education for these students.

Bead-making is one of biggest industries in the region and this idea also provided an opportunity to support local commerce. Diane, Cindy and the director of the school recognized the importance of teaching the students to work hard for their opportunities and taught the children how to string bracelets. The students strung all of the bracelets until 2013 when the demand became so great that they couldn’t keep up. This became an opportunity for Project Bead to commission local women to make the bracelets, which had been a long term goal of the Project. Today, the women that string the bracelets are excited for the income and the ability to support their families.

When the students that ran Project Bead began to graduate in 2011, it became evident that they still wanted to be involved in the enterprise that they helped grow. Diane recognized their commitment and has since handed over the Project to her former students. Today Project Bead is run by seven Bentley graduates, the “Bead Team”, that are passionate about seeing continued growth for the enterprise and promoting universal education. The Bead Team envisions funding education beyond the 15 original students as Project Bead grows. For more on the foundation, click here.

The lovely ladies of the Project Bead team in NY

The lovely ladies of the Project Bead team in NY

The Project Bead team is focused on funding the high school education of vulnerable children at the Mmofra Trom Education Center in Somanya, Ghana. Bracelets are 100% handmade with recycled glass and/or sand beads by local female entrepreneurs. All proceeds of bracelet sales go to fund the education of these children and Project Bead has saved enough to send sixteen students through all four years of high school.

Project Bead’s Strategic Objectives: 

  • To educate children who cannot afford to go to school
  • To purchase all beaded products from entrepreneurs, local to the areas we support
  • To raise awareness of the power of education and its ability to end world poverty

In addition to providing jobs overseas and utilizing recycled materials, Project Bead also has a unique Cause Collection, which is my favorite because of the partnerships with specific organizations. Some of my other favorites include the Atomic Blue from The Holiday 2014 Collection, and Fireflies from The Glass Collection. See the Fireflies piece featured in the House of G&C Holiday Photoshoot here.

Florence, one of Project Bead's major vendors located in Ghana

Florence, one of Project Bead’s major vendors located in Ghana

If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping yet, it’s not too late! Check some of the “Cause Collection” bracelets below, or shop all Project Bead Collections here. For every sale made, Project Bead donates 50% of the total sale to that specific organization. Find out more about the partner organizations here. Shop the “Cause Collection” below and don’t forget to use discount code SHIP50 for FREE shipping on all orders over $50 USD.

Cause Collection Bracelets are:

 MeganStrong: In honor of Megan, a 23-year-old Project Bead Team member who suffered a severe stroke this past May, we donate 50% of all profits tothe National Stroke Association. Buy the MeganStrong Bracelet here.

 BeCause Water: BeCause Water is a movement for sustainable, clean drinking water (Boston, MA -based). BeCause Water is changing the model in which water is consumed and perceived through power of community based initiative. Its mission is to ensure the posterity of water by providing access to sustainable solutions through a trusted marketplace supported by community initiative. 50% goes directly to their foundation. Buy the BeCause Water Bracelet here.

HopeLoveCure: CDKL5 is a rare X-linked genetic disorder that results in early onset, difficult to control seizures and severe neuro-developmental impairment in young girls.  It is a rare orphan disorder to which there are currently about 600 children diagnosed in the world.  Scientists and doctors do not know what causes CDKL5 mutations, or the full spectrum of the disorder. 50% is donated to the International Foundation for CDKL5 Research in hopes of finding a cure. Buy the HopeLoveCure Bracelet here.

Think Pink!: A new release for this October’s breast cancer awareness month. 50% is donated to the Feel Your Boobies Foundation, a non-profit that promotes proactive breast health in young women through education and outreach. Buy the Think Pink! Bracelet here.

Mercy: Mercy was only ONE of the thousands of children who die of malnutrition around the world, but she made a lasting impact on author C.C. Chapman. During a trip to Ghana with the ONE Campaign, C.C. met Mercy at Princess Marie Louise Hospital. She grabbed his fingers, smiled and captured his heart. Sadly, Mercy passed away shortly after their meeting. Proceeds from this bracelet are in memory of Mercy as C.C donates the profits back to our organization. Buy the Mercy Bracelet here.

I hope you’re as inspired by the Project Bead story as I am. Don’t forget to shop online, and use the SHIP50 code for FREE shipping on all orders over $50 USD. To find out more about Project Bead, visit the website or follow Project Bead on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Don’t forget to check out my Conscious Magazine Holiday gift guide picks featuring the MeganStrong Bracelet!

project bead 3


All photos courtesy of Project Bead unless otherwise noted. 

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