The beads and molds are made locally at each factory. All raw materials are local. Glass bottles and vinyl scraps are gathered from the side of the road, garbage dumps, and other sources and then delivered to the bead maker. With a mortar and pestle, the glass is beaten into sand and then colors and liquid are added.
The solution is poured into handmade molds from dirt of a termite mound because it burns at a higher temperature. The laborers place the molds on a long handed wooden paddle and shift them into a clay kiln or chiminea where they bake for 30 minutes. The molds are removed two additional times for rotating the beads and adding a color or design and then re-firing.
The bead merchants typically learn their trade from family and the business is passed down from prior generations. These bead merchants are located in both rural and urban areas. The bead merchants would be considered the ‘working merchant class.’
The process is slow and labor intensive. Men make the beads in very hot and primitive conditions frequently without eye and hand protection. Women are hired to string the beads into strands for sale. The laborers would be considered the ‘working poor.’
Kairos 10 International purchases the beads and other raw materials from local Ghanaian bead manufacturers found within a 1/2 day radius of Accra, the capital of Ghana. In addition, Kairos makes custom orders with local merchants for special personalized beads.
Cedi Industries is located in Odumase-Krobo, Ghana. Mr. Cedi sells beads worldwide and has a serious following for the quality and style of beads he produces. The first bracelets Kairos produced used Cedi beads.
TET Glass Beads Industry
Tet Glass Beads Industry in Accra-North, Ghana, is a smaller operation than Mr. Cedi and is not internationally renowned. TET’s beads are a very high quality.
TK Beads Industry
TK Beads Industry is directed by Florence Asare in Amrahia, Ghana. This business was actually started in1997 through a Danish micro finance arrangement and now employs 27 workers. TK Bead ships worldwide.
The Kairos Beaders are a group of women hired to make the bracelets for sale in the US. The women are skilled in jewelry making and enjoy singing while beading together. On a given day, a beader can make 15 to 20 bracelets. It is an intricate process, but the result is a beautiful handmade bracelet that has a purpose to save lives in underdeveloped countries.