How We've Grown
History of the Social Enterprise
Project Bead began as the Mmofra Trom Bead Project in 2009 when Bentley University professor, Diane Kellogg, approached the future Bead Team to build a social enterprise. Since 2001, Diane worked with a group of her friends and family to raise funds to transform a small orphanage, once dependent on donations, into a private boarding school. Attracting tuition paying students gave the school the ability to generate sustainable income that could be used to support the original endeavor of providing for children without a home. This school has become one of the most prominent primary schools in Ghana.
There were 15 particular students who were raised at the school and it was unclear what these students would do after graduation from the primary school. Diane Kellogg and her sister Cindy had an idea to sell Ghanaian-made bracelets in the United States and use the profits to fund a high school education for these students.
Bead-making is one of biggest industries in the region and this idea also provided an opportunity to support local commerce. Diane, Cindy and the director of the school recognized the importance of teaching the students to work hard for their opportunities and taught the children how to string bracelets. The students strung all of the bracelets until 2013 when the demand became so great that they couldn’t keep up. This became an opportunity for Project Bead to commission local women to make the bracelets, which had been a long term goal of the Project. Today, the women who string the bracelets are excited for the income and the ability to support their families.
When the students who ran Project Bead began to graduate in 2011, it became evident that they still wanted to be involved in the enterprise that they helped grow. Diane recognized their commitment and has since handed over the Project to her former students. Today Project Bead is run by nine women, seven of them Bentley graduates, the “Bead Team”, who are passionate about seeing continued growth for the enterprise and promoting universal education. The Bead Team envisions funding education beyond the 15 original students as Project Bead grows.
History of the Foundation
Diane was originally involved with the school through a friend from England, Carol Gray, who founded the Mmofra Trom Foundation. Others in Carol’s circle of friends, Laraine Wright and Jane Ream, ran the foundation in USA which supported Carol's project in Ghana.
Laraine, Jane and Diane recognized the opportunity to groom the next generation--a new circle of friends to carry on the Foundation. As the Bead Team graduated, each was invited to be Board members of the Mmofra Trom Foundation. Once the team was fully entrusted with both the social enterprise and the foundation the Bead Team merged the two entities and simplified the name to the Project Bead Foundation (d.b.a. Project Bead).
Project Bead Today
To date, Project Bead has raised over $150,000 and regularly wires funds to Ghana to pay school fees for the original 15 students who inspired this journey. The Bead Team buys the beads, plans and designs the bracelets and commissions women to string the bracelets - all in the same region of Ghana where they are funding education. In addition to the Project Bead responsibilities, the Bead Team runs all administrative work for the Foundation. Project Bead plans to expand the product line and fund education for more and more children in Ghana.
Buy your beads today. Wear them every day. Show that you are committed to universal education.