Partying to Change the World

Nicholas Kristof recently profiled some friends and collegues in the New York Times.   Torkin is one of the original founding partners of Hollyhock. Devin was a board member in her mid 20's. Their project , BeadforLife, is enormously inspiring, and successful.

Here is an exerpt:

Partying to Change the World

March 13, 2010

Maybe the most common question I get from readers is: What can I do?  They’ve read about malaria, or mass rape, or AIDS orphans, and they want to make a difference. Should they call the White House? Write a check? Howl in hopeless despair?  There’s never a perfect answer, but here’s one ingenious approach: Throw a party!

Let’s back up. In 2004, a Colorado woman named Torkin Wakefield, a Peace Corps veteran with a lifetime of experience in aid work, was temporarily living in Uganda. Her daughter, Devin Hibbard, then just out of graduate school, came to visit, and they strolled together through a slum in Kampala, the capital.

They stumbled upon a woman named Millie Akena making jewelry beads out of trash paper outside her mud-walled home. They bought a few necklaces from Millie, for about 75 cents each. Over the next few days, mother and daughter received many compliments on the necklaces — especially when they explained where the beads came from. Jewelry from garbage! Hmm. A gleam in their eyes, Torkin and Devin returned to the slum, asked Millie to gather her friends and bought up more than 225 necklaces. American friends loved the beads. So Torkin and Devin, with their friend Ginny Jordan, formed  BeadforLife.  It’s a nonprofit seeking to promote entrepreneurship through an international jewelry manufacturing operation.

To read the full article click HERE.



Beads for Life, and

What an inspiring story!

I was blessed to meet another inspiring young woman in 2009 - Lovetta Conto, the designer of Akawelle necklaces - made from the bullets fired in the Liberian war.

You can read her story, and purchase her necklaces here: