Turning something horrific into art
I's beautiful and sustainable
We partner with two different groups in Ethiopia, both creating beautiful jewelry from upcycled artillery. We chose to work with these cooperatives because of their exceptional resiliency and their commitment to fair trade principles, especially environmental stewardship and creating opportunities for marginalized producers.
We partner with a cooperative in central Addis Ababa, where women artisans each spend 6 months in (paid) training, learning the trade of jewelry-making. This cooperative provides childcare for the women as well as educational support for each artisan and their children. At this cooperative, in the middle of the day, a well-deserved break for our partners comes in the form of a coffee ceremony.
The second cooperative employs many women who, for a variety of reasons, are often considered outcasts of their society. Many of our partners sought refuge near Entoto Mountain, right on the edge of Addis Ababa. This cooperative recruits women living on the mountain to provide skill training, health insurance, and stable jobs.
Both cooperatives make jewelry from recycled bullet casings. Bullet casings are gathered by local farmers who then sell them to our artisan partners, who melt them down and pour them into molds. The beads are naturally 100% brass or copper: to create a silver color, the beads are plated. After being broken from the molds, the beads are sanded and polished, then expertly crafted into necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. A magnificent piece of art!