A few weeks ago I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Malawi, Southeastern Africa to visit one of my best friends, Colleen, who is currently serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

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With Colleen’s assistance, I was able to organize and teach a jewelry-making workshop in Chikwina, a small, mountain-top village in the northern region of Malawi. We conducted the workshop out of Colleen’s home, and I demonstrated how to make jewelry (earrings, bracelets, necklaces,) using simple, everyday materials like bottle caps, wire and metal washers.

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We were lucky enough to also have some thread, beads and jewelry materials on-site (leftover from previous projects,) which added a little extra color and variety into the mix! These black, red and green beaded earrings represent the colors of the Malawian flag, and are also seasonably festive for Christmas!

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The intention behind the jewelry making was to create a product to be sold to generate income. This idea could only work if it was realistically possible for the villagers to continue making these items without outsourced materials or help. With this sustainability and self-sufficiency in mind, I chose readily available, low-cost (or even free, in the case of the bottle caps) materials, and a simple process. Colleen and myself are facilitating the sales of the jewelry for now, (just in time for the holidays!) and are brainstorming about how to turn the sales aspect into a more sustainable process, as well.

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If you are interested in purchasing some jewelry for the holidays (or beyond!) you can contact me via email: s.mcbride1221@gmail.com.

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All proceeds go directly to the jewelry makers in Chikwina to fund local, internal programming and community development projects.

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