Recently I learned just how much impact my blog has made on others. My contribution would not be possible though without the combined effort of thousands of other tutorial designers featured over the years who have generously shared their ideas for the greater good. It's not just about spreading enthusiasm for the craft but it also benefits those who desperately need a chance to better their lives.

Mallory Erickson emailed me, "I just wanted to write in and thank you for keeping up such a great blog. I work with a vocational jewelry program for youth that work in the city dump, here in Managua, Nicaragua. The articles, photos, and ideas you post give us great inspiration and help improve our styles! The more popular our jewelry becomes, the more we sell, and the less these young men and women have to work in the dump." 

That's right. These kids and their families work in the trash, collecting salvageable plastic and metal  for less than $2 a day so they can eat. School is a privilege they cannot afford.  There are over 175 families (~ 1500 people) who eke out a living in that city dump called La Chureca. There are few job opportunities for them.

It is important to get the kids out of the dump because they are so vulnerable to toxic lead. No one should be breathing in the potentially toxic fumes of the dump fires either. Many kids are malnourished. Some of the girls also prostitute themselves to survive. Glue sniffing occurs too because the practice helps dull the hunger pangs.

There is hope though in the form of the program Mallory mentioned. It's called Nica HOPE which is part of the Fabretto Children's Foundation, an educational non-profit which operates in many schools and after school centers in Nicaragua. 

The jewelry making program is a wonderful initiative. It is part of the vocational training portion of the larger educational effort which also includes computer training. It gives the youngsters an alternative way to earn income. They are also given assistance to stay in school. 

I can understand why Mallory finds my blog so useful. The program offers as many as 11 classes during the week, making a variety of jewelry pieces. Not only are the young people being creative, they earn a portion of the profit. They are also taught business fundamentals so they will have the skills to start their own small businesses. Those that do not involve sifting through trash. Having said that, some of their jewelry do feature recycled material!

Earrings from plastic bottles

Paper bead earrings
See Lester Javier Fuentes Perez, a young boy, tell his story of how his life turned around because of this program.

If you have time, you can watch this 5 minute video and see how the program got started and what amazing work they have done so far. The video is presented by the founder, Deanna Ford.

They sell their jewelry online and they encourage selling events. More on their website.

Before You Go:
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips