Monday, September 12, 2011

In My Own Words- The One Bead Project

So what exactly am I doing here? I hope you weren't expecting a short answer. Regardless, here it is:
    This summer I had the opportunity to go to Africa with a friend, Becca, and spend time working at a glass blowing studio in Nairobi. One of our jobs was to come up with a fundraiser involving a local school. Anselm, the owner of the studio, dropped us off and we spent two days working with and learning about the children at the Oloosirkon Government Primary School. Aside from a brief pep talk in the car we were basically unprepared for what we would be doing/seeing. We spoke to the principal of the school for a few minutes in which he told us simply that we were free to roam around and talk with as many students as we needed. (I should mention that he was not aware at the time that we were looking to help his school, but was told that we were just a couple of students doing a project on Kenyan schools.) It was an incredible experience to be around these kids who did not have electricity, papers, pencils, and proper restrooms, but were still eager as ever to learn and laugh with us, regardless of any language barriers that existed. The little kids surrounded us from the start. They new little english but wanted to be in every picture I took. The older students were a bit shy when approached, but quickly warmed up. The warm feelings and laughter is something I am certain I won't ever forget. 
     From this experience evolved the One Bead ProjectWe decided to make a glass bead, one half thick and one thin to symbolize the idea of having a lot vs. having a little. In the center connecting the two halves will be an "O" for the name of the school that we were supporting. The bead will hang on a piece of leather like a small glass charm. Anselm has agreed for now to cover the production cost involved with making the beads, so as of right now, 100% of the profits will be going directly to the school. Profits will be used to fund expensive, yet necessary projects such as building a fence and installing bathrooms for girls and boys. Although raising money for the school is an important aspect in this project, awareness is another element high on our list of priorities. Our idea was that in buying a bead, you are not only helping the school, but you are also acknowledging your desire to help another individual. Buying a bead should symbolize an act of selflessness, of doing something for another person who is not in an ideal situation, of doing something for that person not because you have to but because you can. This concept is very important. Additionally, for many students the idea is that in buying a bead you are acknowledging how grateful you are to go to a school with electricity/paper/pens/etc. 
And Now?
     I am diving into this project at full speed! I have 100 beads coming to my house shortly. These are the original 100 beads. I will use them as samples, however they will also be sold, but at a higher price. I just spent the past two weekends a HWS talking to students and teachers and getting ideas for ways to move forward. I recently received the finished logo from my friend and amazing artist, Sarah Hulver that I have been using for posters and marketing. I also just finished a rough draft video composed of clips I took while in Kenya. Sarah is going to re-create a much more tightened version of this video for our future website, and I am currently looking for a musician to write an original score for the piece. Between all of the meetings and exciting leaps and bounds we are making I feel like my life is in a permanent "fast forward". And I LOVE it. This of course is not all I am doing, but hopefully now you have some idea! 
Want in? please?
   You can help! There are so many things involved in making this work, and I want you to be a part of it. It is important to me that this is a collaborative project. Please contact me if you want to help or if you think you know someone who can help. (Like I said, looking for a musician). E-mail me at:

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