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The Nakate Project: Empowerment Through Craft

making a paper bead

Rosemary, a Ugandan woman raising four children all on her own, is a savvy businesswoman who just needed a chance. She researched vegetables that would sell well in her village and how much money she would need to start a business selling them. All she needed to get going was a $50 loan.

She told her story to Shanley Knox, who launched the Nakate Project to help women like Rosemary. Women who participate in the project make necklaces out of recycled magazines that they sell to raise funds for business ventures like Rosemary’s vegetable stand.

Knox talked a bit about what inspired her to start the project:

The women I met in Uganda changed my world, which is, I suppose, why I’m trying to change theirs. They are battered and culturally without many rights. They are living in a polygamous, sexist culture and yet they’re who hold their families together and, typically, work as the bread winners.

The project empowers African women to support themselves and their families and eventually launch businesses of their own.

recycled necklace

All of the necklaces that they sell are made from recycled magazine beads that the women cut, roll, and seal themselves. Don’t worry – the sealant protects the paper from water damage, so you don’t have to worry about your necklace disintegrating if you get caught in the rain!

Looking to snag one of their beautiful, recycled necklaces or bracelets? You can shop for jewelry on the Nakate Project website. Knox is also documenting the project over on her own blog and on The Nakate Project Facebook page.

Images via The Nakate Project, used with permission.

Written by Becky Striepe

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .

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