The Spark

The Transformation of Torkin Wakefield

One of the lives that has been transformed through BeadforLife is my own.   In 2004 when I moved to Uganda I knew very little about extreme poverty, about the challenges that the poor face, about the struggles of women to survive and care for their children.  I knew even less about how to assist a poorly educated woman become an entrepreneur and find sustainable business opportunities.  Together with my daughter, Devin, and my close friend Ginny Jordan I set out to find meaningful opportunities to relieve suffering.   Where this intention would take us we did not know.  We only knew that we could try to find an opportunity to make a difference….and that was the beginning of a journey that has now impacted 40,000 people!

I have had to learn so many things I did not know; about entrepreneurship, about the cultures of the women in Uganda, about what small scale businesses are most sustainable, about how to sell beads through many sales channels, about how to garner press coverage, about how to deal with misogyny  I have leaned that people of good heart around the world will respond to the human story of suffering and that generosity awaits an invitation.

This work has given meaning to my life that was missing.  It has given me countless intimate experiences with hopeful hardworking people slowly transforming their own lives.   And it has taught me the power of intention.  I live in gratitude now and truly know the meaning of work that matters.




  1. avatarCindy in NYC

    Whenever I wear my dainty earth toned necklace from BFL..I never miss a ‘teaching moment’, as I always get compliments and questions about how unique, and pretty it is!! The old saying, “No one person can do everything, but EVERY person can do something..” makes me think of Bead For Life and the talented, courageous women who create these pieces. Hurrah and thanks to all..for reminding us that each person, when empowered, can indeed do much!!

  2. avatarCindy

    No one person can do everything — but EACH person can do something. Maybe that’s the secret. I often wear my lovely earth toned necklace, and never fail to use the ‘teaching moment’, when someone compliments it — to tell them where it came from, and how I came to know Bead For Life. Hurrah and love to all..keep the sleeves rolled up journey, going forward!! You have friends and supporters you may never meet – but we are out here, enjoying and chatting up your products all the same!! Blest be!

  3. avatarJennifer Miller

    Thank you Torkin, Ginny, and Devin, for setting this intention to help a segment of the world’s suffering. Through your initiatives, you have helped transform the lives of those you serve, while also broadening the lives of the volunteers who believe whole-heartedly in this work. My life has been forever changed because of BeadforLife, and for that, I am humbled and honored to serve alongside of you all!

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