Today's Vendor Spotlight is Ghana ba African Beads Gallery, run by Yahaya Alhassan. Yahaya sent me some wonderful information about the bead trade in Ghana, and on giving back. You can read Yahaya's words below to learn more.
With many family members in both Ghana and Nigeria, I learned the beads business from my father, who was a beads trader between Ghana and Nigeria, as well as other West African countries. People would line up outside our house when they heard my father was coming back with beads from Nigeria, he was so well respected and talented in finding the best beads for trade and design. From him, my brothers and I learned every aspect of the beads business, including going door-to-door looking to buy ancient trade beads (often trading useful household goods that he brought from the city to these small villages), selling beads door-to-door, selling beads in the market, and sitting down to design special bead jewelry. All of this took place in Koforidua, which is the beads center of Ghana, with the largest bead market in the country. Weekly, people will come from all over Ghana and West Africa to display, trade, and sell their beads at this market.
Something else my father taught me was to always be kind and that "givers never lack", or as people say in America, "pay it forward." As a result of these two different lessons about beads, and life, it has been my mission for several years now to give a generous portion of my profits to education projects in Ghana. Not only can people enjoy my lovely beads designs, but countless children in Ghana will hopefully benefit from a better education, and perhaps also learn that "givers never lack."
Besease, a village of about 400 people, has no running water, and is soon getting electricity. The nearest government school was more than an hour walk from the village, causing many kids to stay home and fall behind, or never attend school. Through aggressive private fundraising in the U.S., a small school was built for grades 1-6. The government has taken over responsibility for the school, but there is no funding for extra supplies, and the pre-kindergarten/kindergarten class receives NO funding at all, not even for the very dedicated teacher's salary. I have been supporting this teacher, his classroom, and the students since 2010, solely through profits from my beads sales!
RSVP to our Alternative Fair, and support other businesses that give back!: https://www.facebook.com/events/1521840118059601/