With many family members in both Ghana and Nigeria, I learned the beads business from my father, who was a beads trader between Ghana and Nigeria, as well as other West African countries. People would line up outside our house when they heard my father was returning with beads, he was so well respected and talented in finding the best beads for trade and design. From him, my brothers and I learned every aspect of the beads business, including going door-to-door looking to buy ancient trade beads (often trading useful household goods that he brought from the city to these small villages), selling beads door-to-door, selling beads in the market, and sitting down to design jewelry. All of this took place in Koforidua, which is the beads center of Ghana, with the largest bead market in the country. Weekly, people come from all over Ghana and West Africa to display, trade, and sell their beads at the market.
Something else my father taught me was to always be kind and that “givers never lack”, or as people say in America, “pay it forward.” As a result of these two different lessons about beads, and life, it has been my mission for more than ten years now to give a generous portion of my profits to education projects in Ghana. Not only can people enjoy my lovely beads designs, but countless children in Ghana are benefitting from a better education, and perhaps also learning that “givers never lack.”
A PORTION OF THE PROFITS GO TO:
Koryε Dance Theatre
Koryε Dance Theatre is a dynamic and exciting percussion and dance ensemble based in Cape Coast, Ghana. “Koryε” can be translated into “Unity” in English. The group was created to offer training and support to the youth of the Cape Coast region, empowering them to get educated and pursue their dreams. The venture set out to provide a vehicle for young men and women to train in traditional dance and drumming, while allowing funds earned through performances to further their studies and continue growing the group. We pay school fees ranging from $25 to $200 per semester for some of the members & their children.
Besease Village School
Children in this village had to walk more than an hour to the nearest school, and they had to cross a fairly busy road. Thus, Koryε Dance Theatre has worked since 2010 to raise funds for this village school. Sammy, a village resident and former teacher, began training the kids who were too small to make the long trek to the government school. Beginning with a small amount of donations from U.S. teachers, supplies were purchased and the teacher’s salary was paid to reopen the school in July 2010. There are now 200+ students attending school in a six-room building. My brother returns to the school regularly to bring additional school and teaching supplies, observe the classrooms and teachers, and discuss the progress and future needs with the village elders