Back in the early 1990s, my mother, Ghanaian by birth, sold beads at local craft fairs in downtown Toronto. Her shop was called “BeadAfrique”, and her supplier was her own mother back in Ghana, who found whatever she asked for at local markets in Accra, Ghana’s capital, and daily markets throughout the countryside. She built relationships with the beadmakers and sellers, and could find anything my mother asked for and more.
When my brother and I came along, BeadAfrique had to take a backseat. But little did my mother know, when my grandmother bought what she had ordered for BeadAfrique, she would buy most of the seller’s stock – anything they wanted to sell to her, she’d give them a fair price. So when it came time to clear out the house in Ghana, all those beads were shipped over to Canada.
Our family found out years later that my grandmother’s intention in buying all those beads hadn’t been to send them over to Canada, but to support the local sellers she knew and cared about. Now, almost 30 years later, it’s time for those beads to come full circle.
For our part, the profits from each sale will be donated to Refuge Enfants Pour Tous, a Canada-based charity dear to my and my mother’s hearts, that supports children, families, and education initiatives in Burkina Faso (https://rept.ca/). For yours, I hope you will give these beautiful beads the life they were intended to have – as part of your handmade jewellery, worn as strands on their own, woven into craft projects, or recycled into something else once again.