The Spark

Maya Azucena in Uganda!

dancing beaders

Maya dancing with the Beaders in Uganda

Our Ugandan office has been enjoying a very special visitor – Maya Azucena!

Maya is an amazing singer and activist, she has traveled the world to promote love. She has produced or performed for many cross-cultural events benefiting various causes, and already gained an international following, performing 100 some-odd concerts in front of 10′s of thousands of fans in former-Yugoslavia with Croatian super-star Gibonni. Ultimately, the US State Department supplied grants that sent Maya and her band on a powerful 5-week journey, performing concerts and facilitating music workshops in Burma, China, Philippines and Sri Lanka.

At the 2010 U.N. Summit, Ms. Azucena was selected by the office of Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to be the exclusive performer at his Every Woman, Every Child event.  Maya is also co-founder (along with Emmy-winning director Lisa Russell) of the multi-media website,, that uses all mediums of Art to raise awareness for better maternal health. In addition to touring with her band and collaborating with many living legends in the music world, Maya mentors teenagers and is invited as a motivational speaker on the subjects of artist entrepreneurism and achieving ones dreams. Among other acknowledgements, Maya’s been awarded a Grammy certificate for her collaboration with Jamaican star, Stephen Marley; a Proclamation from Congress for co-producing Hope Night, a concert for domestic-abuse awareness; and the prestigious “Top 40 Under 40″ Award from The Network Journal for her business acumen, community work and work abroad. Recently, she was commissioned by One Billion Rising to create the song “Dance Revolution” for V-Day’s 15th Anniversary.  We at BeadforLife are truly grateful for her support of our cause.

Maya singing

Maya singing and dancing with the members of BeadforLife in Uganda.

During her trip in Uganda Maya had the opportunity to meet with the members of BeadforLife.  She was able to visit to a couple of our uplifting programs including the Street Business School and Rural Entrepreneurial Program on the outskirts of Kampala. Both of these programs are part of our efforts to give the women who take part in BeadforLife entrepreneurial skills that will last them a life time.

Maya also visited a Jazz club called Jazzville where she did a small performance.  In fact everywhere Maya went in Uganda she was singing!

Teddy, Maya and Joan wearing beads

Teddy, Maya and Joan share a moment, they will meet again soon for the Opportunity Tour

At the end of her trip Maya visited the BeadforLife’s “Friendship Village”, where members bought land and homes by selling their handmade beads. This incredible community was built by volunteers and created homes for 132 impoverished Ugandan families. While there Maya was able to meet Joan and Teddy – the two former beaders who will soon be coming to the U.S. The three of them will be reunited in April 2013 when the Opportunity Tour kicks off!


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