From Bullets to Beads

From Bullets to Beads

Hamlin's holistic model of care guides who we partner with as we search for suppliers that are wholly ethical. This means knowing their provenance and ensuring they are giving back to their communities. So it gives us immense pleasure to work with Entoto Artisan to bring Bullets to Beads fair trade jewellery to you. 

How have they come from rural Ethiopia to The Hamlin shop where we can all admire them?

It begins in northern Ethiopia, where farmers collect artillery shells, left behind after decades of civil war. The local people use traditional methods to melt down the casings and rework the metal into delicate discs and beads.

The next time we see these unique beads they have arrived at a bustling workshop at Mt Entoto on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. Here, an enterprising women's collective create the wonderful items in the Bullets to Beads range. Entoto Artisan is a fair trade business employing more than one hundred local women living with HIV/AIDS. Inspired by traditional Ethiopian designs and natural motifs, these creative women fashion a range of earrings, bracelets, neckpieces and rings with a funky modern twist. They recycle not only the copper and brass beads from the artillery casings but also reuse Ethiopian leather and hammered silver to create unique jewellery and stylish handbags.

It is fantastic that two different communities are benefiting from this fair trade process.

Entoto's artisans are paid a fair wage, lifting them from the poverty associated with their harshly stigmatised condition. The organisation funds healthcare and after-school tutoring programs, also helping put personal saving mechanisms into place. Many workers are single parents and have come to Entoto from difficult circumstances, previously only able to make a living by begging or hard labour. Now they work in a safe environment, treated with dignity and respect. 

These women are not only transformed by encouraging jewellery and leather working skills and entrepreneurial thinking. Their empowerment enables them to provide an education for their children, supporting their families and their community. 

Team Hamlin's picks: Our favourites include the delicate Zahara earrings and Tsedi, a statement necklace that will make any outfit pop! The metallics and earthy tones effortlessly coordinate to any colour scheme. We recommend the Bullets to Beads range as a spectacular, meaningful gift for that special somebody. 

Discover our jewellery range here. All proceeds support the patients and dedicated staff at the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation.

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