This article was authored by Zoë Bergman ‘19. Zoë is the new spokesperson for 31 Bits on the Kenyon College campus.
31 Bits is a socially conscious, fair trade jewelry company and it's absolutely amazing! They hire women in Gulu, Uganda who have been displaced from their homes and villages as a result of the ongoing war. These women are put into a five year program where they are not only able to make a steady income — one equivalent to that of a school teacher's income in Uganda — but they are also provided with a health education, financial and vocational training, counseling (if needed) and most of all, hope for the future. 31 Bits is not only a company that cares about their consumers; they also care about their creator. After they have completed this five year program, the Ugandan women are empowered to rise above property and to create their own careers, through which they can continue providing for their families.
31 Bits started when one of the co-founders traveled to Uganda and came across a women making beads out of recycled paper. She took a box of jewelry back home with her and started selling the bracelets and necklaces to friends and family. They ran out within weeks! They soon realized that the women in Uganda had a skill, and they had a market — so they created 31 Bits. A few of founders went back to Uganda the following summer and selected six women to begin the 31 Bits journey.
So where did the name 31 Bits come from? The “31” comes from Proverbs 31 in the Bible, which describes a women working, caring and providing for her family, which is what this organization aims to assist the women in Uganda in doing. And the “bits” comes from what the beads are made out of… bits of paper!
Since 31 Bits began while the founders were Juniors in college, they have created a campus representative program. Campus reps are selling their jewelry and sharing their story to college campuses all over the nation. I have just recently became a 31 Bits campus rep here at Kenyon College, and will be holding events and tabling throughout the rest of the semester. If you are interested in staying updated on what I am doing follow my instagram account @31bitskenyon and my Facebook page 31 Bits Kenyon College. If you are interested in purchasing jewelry, you can contact me at my school email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, feel free to check out the organization’s website at 31bits.com!
In case you were wondering, here is a photo of what I received in my first shipment!
Remember, every purchase directly impacts a woman in Uganda.
Image credits: 31bits.com