Bead making is at the heart of what we do; it is how we began. Rolling beads provides our members with a steady source of income throughout the 18 months they are in our program. We enroll 3-4 bead making groups per year, and each group contains between 40-60 members. We welcome each new group into our program with singing, dancing and a heartfelt ceremony where members collectively decide their group name.

Each beginning group receives three months of extensive training in how to roll beads out of recycled paper and string them into beautiful jewelry. More importantly, they receive ongoing entrepreneurial and business skills training to prepare them to launch their own sustainable business once they graduate. Click here to see a full timeline.

Bead Sales

Each bead sale begins with singing, drumming and dancing. After our members are welcomed, they meet with our inventory team who inspects and purchases their jewelry. Money earned from each sale is distributed to every member in the following ways: cash in hand, business fund, and personal savings account. Money from the business fund goes towards starting a business, while money in the personal savings account is used for day-to-day expenses. While at our office on bead sale days, our members also attend health trainings, receive information about upcoming trainings, or feedback on their bead making.

BeadforLife is now making payments to some of our members more secure by using Mobile Money. By paying our members with a mobile payment rather than cash, we've reduced fraud and theft within our program.    

Income Generation

Members increase their income by 7 to 10 times while enrolled in our program. Earning a regular income creates an immediate impact in the lives of our members. They are able to eat more nutritious foods, receive proper health care, enroll their children in school and to improve their living situations. By also helping our members save their earning and invest in starting a business we ensure that they will continue to make enough income to support their families. Common types of businesses that members open are poultry rearing, restaurants, retail stores, vegetable stands, tailoring and renting rooms. 

We teach women how to provide for themselves, their families and even their communities. The goal of our model is to put money into the hands of our members, and to create sustainable income streams that they can depend on for years to come. We provide entrepreneurial or agri-business training, help our members open savings accounts and award business grants. We even adapt our core model to fit the needs of each of our regions: Kampala, Iganga and Otuke.

Kampala Model

3 Months
Prior to
About 100 prospective members participate in a weekend workshop to determine their entrepreneurial potential. Each woman is given 10,000 schillings (about $4 US) to start a mini-business to see if she can increase her initial capital. Our membership team then selects and enrolls between 40-60 women from this group. They spend the next three months receiving numeracy training and learning to make beads from recycled paper. 
Month 1
Members select their group name. Each woman receives help to open her own savings account so that she can start saving. 

Months 1-15

The main focus during this time is income generation. Members sell their beads to us twice a month, which provides them with an opportunity to earn a regular and significant income. They also receive ongoing entrepreneurial training, as well as health classes and other services. 
Months 7-15
Members receive individual mentoring and ongoing business training from BeadforLife's staff. They withdraw a portion of their savings to launch their new business.
Months     15-18
Members stop rolling beads so they can focus on their new businesses. Advice and support are given to ensure a sustainable business has been launched.
Month 18
Members graduate from BeadforLife with savings, their own small business, and entrepreneurial skills.
Month 24
Post-membership data is collected and evaluated. Alumni support is also offered to ensure women continue to be prosperous.



25 Groups & Counting!
BeadforLife currently has three groups enrolled: Arise, Birimumaaso, and Kwagala.