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Celebrating 11 Years 

of Partnership in Uganda

Saying Farewell.
Remembering Changed Lives.


After 11 years working hand-in-hand with female artisans in Uganda, this chapter of 31 Bits has come to an end. This is the story of how it started, the impact our customers made possible, and where we– and our friends in Uganda– are going from here.

Celebrating 11 Years of Partnership in Uganda


After 11 years working hand-in-hand with female artisans in Uganda, this chapter of 31 Bits has come to an end. This is the story of how it started, the impact our customers made possible, and where we– and our friends in Uganda– are going from here.

Origin Story

Some might call it an accident.
We call it divine intervention.

Kallie Thomson was a college student whose summer trip to work in a Ugandan orphanage didn’t work out. But by the time she realized that, she was already in Uganda, trying to figure out what to do with her time there.


When Kallie met some female artisans and saw the paper beads they were rolling by hand, she got thinking: what if she could sell this back home?


So she brought back a few pieces and immediately sold them all. The supply was there. The demand was there. All there was left to figure out was, well, everything else.

celebrating lives changed.

The 

Uganda 

Program

The Beginning Of 31 Bits & Our Program In Uganda

After Kallie’s initial success, she and three friends formed 31 Bits. And from the beginning the mission in Uganda was clear: engage with artisan partners sustainably.


So as we built the business, we did a lot more than just pay our friends in Uganda fairly; we built a 5-year program that included:


Finance Education: Classes focused on things like saving, budgeting, using a bank account, and better understanding poverty.

Counseling: One-on-one meetings with an onsite counselor covering problem solving, decision-making, grief, marriage, domestic violence, parenting and more.


Physical Health: Courses covering nutrition, hygiene & sanitation, family planning, HIV and STI awareness, prenatal care, and fitness activities.


Business Coaching: Training & mentorship to help each artisan create her own business outside of 31 Bits so as not to depend on the Western market. 


Men-To-Men Talks: For real empowerment to take place, the whole family needed to be involved. Quarterly “Men-To-Men Talks” allowed artisans’ husbands, fathers, and adult sons to have honest discussions about their part in the family.


Community Service: Four “Serve Days” throughout the year where our artisans offer their time and talents to make a difference in the community.


Origin Story

Some might call it an accident. We call it divine intervention…

Kallie Thomson was a college student whose summer trip to work in a Ugandan orphanage didn’t work out. But by the time she realized that, she was already in Uganda, trying to figure out what to do with her time there.


When Kallie met some female artisans and saw the paper beads they were rolling by hand, she got thinking: what if she could sell this back home?


So she brought back a few pieces and immediately sold them all. The supply was there. The demand was there. All there was left to figure out was, well, everything else.

celebrating lives changed.

The Uganda Program

The Beginning Of 31 Bits & Our
Program In Uganda

After Kallie’s initial success, she and three friends formed 31 Bits. And from the beginning the mission in Uganda was clear: engage with artisan partners sustainably.


So as we built the business, we did a lot more than just pay our friends in Uganda fairly; we built a 5-year program that included:


Finance Education: Classes focused on things like saving, budgeting, using a bank account, and better understanding poverty.


Counseling: One-on-one meetings with an onsite counselor covering problem solving, decision-making, grief, marriage, domestic violence, parenting and more.


Physical Health: Courses covering nutrition, hygiene & sanitation, family planning, HIV and STI awareness, prenatal care, and fitness activities.

Business Coaching:Training & mentorship to help each artisan create her own business outside of 31 Bits so as not to depend on the Western market. 


Men-To-Men Talks: For real empowerment to take place, the whole family needed to be involved. Quarterly “Men-To-Men Talks” allowed artisans’ husbands, fathers, and adult sons to have honest discussions about their part in the family.


Community Service:Four “Serve Days” throughout the year where our artisans offer their time and talents to make a difference in the community.

“We built a 5-year [educational] program…”

The Results

The Results: Over 150 Graduates And Lasting Impact

The goal was to invest in lasting change for our friends in Uganda. If 31 Bits was to fail or leave, it would be sad and hard for us. But if they were dependent upon us, it would be devastating for them.


So here’s a statistic we’re proud of: we graduated over 150 artisans from our program! They’ve started everything from chicken farms to tailoring shops to agriculture farms.


One woman even opened her own restaurant and named it “31 Bits”!

So yes: we’re leaving Uganda. But we built our engagement precisely for this day.

The Results

The Results: Over 150 Graduates
And Lasting Impact


The goal was to invest in lasting change for our friends in Uganda. If 31 Bits was to fail or leave, it would be sad and hard for us. But if they were dependent upon us, it would be devastating for them.


So here’s a statistic we’re proud of: we graduated over 150 artisans from our program! They’ve started everything from chicken farms to tailoring shops to agriculture farms.

One woman even opened her own restaurant and named it “31 Bits”!


So yes: we’re leaving Uganda. But we built our engagement precisely for this day.

“The goal was to invest in lasting change…”

The Collection

Artisanship That Inspired
Us From The Beginning

Our Uganda Collection is filled with colorful beads, handmade from rolled paper by our artisans in Uganda.


Our designers worked hand-in-hand with the artisans
using modern silhouettes and fresh color palettes. The beads are sealed with a water-based coating for durability.


We don’t use the term “artisan” lightly: the skill we saw inour time in Uganda blew us away, and we’re deeply proudof the beautiful jewelry they’ve created.


Of course, with our exit from Uganda,
that means that once these products are gone.

The Collection

Artisanship That Inspired Us From The Beginning


Our Uganda Collection is filled with colorful beads, handmade from rolled paper by our artisans in Uganda.


Our designers worked hand-in-hand with the artisans using modern silhouettes and fresh color palettes. The beads are sealed with a water-based coating for durability.


We don’t use the term “artisan” lightly: the skill we saw in our time in Uganda blew us away, and we’re deeply proud of the beautiful jewelry they’ve created.


Of course, with our exit from Uganda, that means that once these products are gone.


shop the

COLLECTION BEFORE IT'S GONE.

shop the

COLLECTION BEFORE IT'S GONE.

The
Thank You

The People Who Made It Possible: You!

We can’t celebrate our work in Uganda without also celebrating our customers. Your purchases over the last decade have made all this incredible impact possible.


YOU chose to shop ethically. YOU chose to care where your products came from. YOU are the reason 31 Bits exists. Which means YOU are the reason why hundreds of artisans and their families are achieving their dreams.


And of course, every piece you purchase means that we can carry forward our mission with our ongoing partnerships in Bali and beyond.


So from the bottom of our hearts:

THANK YOU.

The Thank You

The People Who Made It Possible: You!


We can’t celebrate our work in Uganda without also celebrating our customers. Your purchases over the last decade have made all this incredible impact possible.


YOU chose to shop ethically. YOU chose to care where your products came from. YOU are the reason 31 Bits exists. Which means YOU are the reason why hundreds of artisans and their families are achieving their dreams.


And of course, every piece you purchase means that we can carry forward our mission with our ongoing partnerships in Bali and beyond.


So from the bottom of our hearts:

THANK YOU.


SHOP THE COLLECTION