After hearing a classmate's insight into what life is like for young women living in post-war northern Uganda, a group of American post-grads went back with her to Uganda to meet some of these women and start to understand how to use their innate resourcefulness and creativity to help them get back on their feet. The Ugandan women had been making recycled paper jewellery at a small scale to make ends meet. The group of visionary visitors knew this jewellery would not only be an easy sell to their friends in the United States, it would be the perfect way to share the stories of perseverance and resilience these Ugandan women had while also raising money for the development of their entrepreneurial skills. And with this, 31 Bits was born.
Today, 31 Bits offers a 5 year program to women in need in northern Uganda. Their model is made up of four parts:
- Financial Stability (consistent monthly income, micro financing opportunities, financial education and business training)
- Physical and Mental Wellness (HIV testing and treatment, health education, on site counselling)
- Social Support (daily lunch, weekly prayer,"spouse day" for spouses to learn about what their wives are up to at 31 Bits)
- Community Impact (each woman makes enough to send their child to school, creating a positive impact on future generations and a "Serve Day" where women in the program volunteer at local hospitals and prisons to share their resources, skills and education)
The company sources 99% of their materials from local markets in East Africa. Each bead is made from rolled strips of recycled paper hardened by a water-based varnish. Every piece of jewellery is handmade by women in the 31 Bits program. You can meet them HERE.
Take a look at one of our favourite 31 Bits "Dream Stories":
31 Bits has plenty of ways for you to get involved with their good works. Of course, your purchase of their jewellery is the easiest way to support the organization. You can also become a campus rep, intern or host a house party. We recently hosted a "conscious shopping" party for our friends that included 31 Bits. They were dazzled by the creativity in the jewellery and moved by the stories behind the brand.
The unparalleled way in which 31 Bits combines timeless style with bright colours and innovative designs is what first caught our attention. Once we began to understand the care that goes into each piece, 31 Bits' transparency and their holistic programming we knew this was something we had to share.
With their mission of using fashion and design to empower people to rise above poverty paired with uniquely gorgeous jewellery, we are all for 31 Bits!