Whether or not the English penchant for paper bead-making was the inspiration for Ugandan artisans is debatable, however it is known that various tribes have been making Recycled Paper Beads as early as the 1930s. Ndejje, located in the Luwero District of central Uganda, has become the modern hub of recycled paper bead-making in Africa, with large co-operatives now producing beads in abundance for the Western market. These co-operatives work in conjunction with various well known organizations, such as Bead For Life and Outreach Uganda, which were established to help women generate a regular income for their families. The organizations ensure that all paper beads are purchased under fair trade agreements so that Ugandan artisans are not exploited for their skills.
Ugandan Paper Beads are produced in much the same way as the Victorian paper beads of the 19th Century, with the exception that, instead of wallpaper, Ugandan artisans utilize discarded books, newspapers and magazines for their craft. Each bead is hand rolled from a triangle of paper, then coated with a durable resin to seal it and harden its exterior. Paper is an extremely versatile crafting material, so you'll find that Ugandan Paper Beads run the gamut of size and shape. Some are also painted with exuberant vegetable-based dyes to make them more desirable.