Bullets are usually used in harmful ways. We've seen the photos of war-torn countries (and our own), and we know the devastation that often follows, but...
What if it doesn't have to end there? It doesn't have to, and the good news is that it doesn't! Bullets are being turned into beautiful things.
In Ethiopia, near the Entoto Mountain, cooperatives of women are working and becoming self-sufficient. Many of these women are affected by HIV/AIDS and shunned from their communities. Yet, as part of these groups, women are earning fair wages in safe environments, getting an education, receiving healthcare, and being empowered by making items, including jewelry.
One of their materials? Bullets.
By gathering bullet casings from the Ethiopian/Eritrean war and melting the bullet casings using methods from their own culture, they make beads. Those beads are strung and fashioned by hand into jewelry like the Guder Necklace.
Adissalem, an HIV+ woman in Ethiopia, learned about a jewelry program while she was begging. Her goal was to finish her education and save money for her husband to start a business. Adissalem joined a program with Raven + Lily and began to work toward making her dreams a reality. In 2011, Adissalem and her husband were able to move from the Entoto Mountain to the city. She had saved enough from the jewelry-making program to support her family and live free of shame because of disease.
The jewelry you purchase and wear makes a difference. You're enabling women who were excluded outcasts to thrive while redeeming something destructive by turning it into something lovely. Their lives may have been influenced by injustice, but they are being turned into stories of hope and restoration.