Aveda’s Beads of Change Heals in Africa

Who says that one person can’t make a difference? On a 2008 visit to Uganda with Aveda, Karri Rose, Greater Midwest Executive Director of Sales and Education, was so moved by the experience that she found a way to partner with a group of locals to help build a stronger future for women and children. During the trip, Karri came upon the Little Light Center in the village of Namuwongo, a place that was always meant to help and educate the community’s children. “The center had papyrus ceilings, no doors, concrete floors and no restroom facilities for the children,” Karri recalls. “And, because funds were so low, the center could only offer the kids one bowl of rice a day, and had to often send them home early as no one was able to watch them.”

In learning about the school from Qasara, the head teacher, Karri was also told that if she wanted to help, what they really needed was longterm support so they could move into a newer facility where they could offer more services. Simultaneously, Karri realized that through buying strung beads that the women in the village were selling, she could help ensure the community’s financial future and potentially provide the funds needed by the school. So she bought $100 worth of them with her own money, then once she was back at home, she began buying more (again, with her own money) to share with the salons she partners with.

She soon began asking salon owners to consider selling the beads to guests and donate the proceeds to Uganda. And from there, she was able to start the non-profit organization Little Light. Within 8 years, the organization was able to relocate the new Little Light Center that offers 14 programs for the women and children, all designed to establish and encourage leadership, education, equality and social justice.

Right now, Karri has about 150 salons selling the beads—the majority of them in the Midwest. To date, an incredible $71,300 has been raised. "I hope to inspire others by trying to be something bigger than myself; and I share my story to help people understand that their contribution doesn’t need to be huge to make a difference," Karri says. “One simple act of kindness can be the ripple effect needed for change, and this particular journey is a beautiful example of the power of change.”

The women making the beads are now a part of the Cycle of Beads program, a women empowerment network for building artistic skills and receiving education and financial management opportunities within a strong peer group of like-minded women making a change.

To this end, all of the money raised by selling the beads goes to Little Light to help cover healthcare, inoculations, as well as school and college fees for children and women in Uganda. “Every single child born into this world deserves a chance to be educated, loved and healthy.”

Search #BeautyHeals for more inspiring stories from the Aveda network. And if you are an Aveda Artist and have your own volunteering story to share, please do so using the hashtag #BeautyHeals.

We want to share as many of these stories as we can, because passion begets passion —whether it’s in the salon or the community at large.

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