Entoto Beth Artisan: About the Makers
Where: Made in Mount Entoto, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Founder: Bethlehem Berhane (Betty)
Number of Workers: 200 women
Products: Jewellery and leather bags
Materials: Recycled bullet casing, scrap metals and arterial shell, leather
Values: Fair Trade, empowering women, supporting people with HIV, sustainable materials
Certifications: World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) Guaranteed Fair Trade
"When I was growing up I was a victim of poverty so I had a big vision to make a difference in others' lives by creating job opportunities."
- Betty, Entoto Beth Artisan Founder
Bethlehem Berhane (Betty), Entoto Beth Artisan Founder
About Entoto Beth Artisan
Entoto Beth Artisan is a WFTO Guaranteed Fair Trade Ethiopian social enterprise based in Mount Entoto, Addis Ababa. The artisans specialise in hand-crafted jewellery made from recycled metal (more about this soon), and leather bags. The business was founded in 2012 by African-born Bethlehem Berhane (Betty), after she visited a group of disadvantaged and HIV positive women at Mount Entoto. She empathised with the women due to her own experience with poverty growing up, and started Entoto Beth Artisan with the goal to rebuild the women's sense of dignity and strength through creating employment opportunities. Today the business provides Fair Trade employment for over 200 women.
Bullets to Beads
There is something powerful, unique and resourceful about the jewellery made by the Entoto Beth Artisans. The carefully hand-crafted beads are made from recycled bullet casings, scrap metals and arterial shell from past war times in Ethiopia. The bullets and other scrap metal are gathered from local fields, melted down and skilfully forged into delicate beads. It might seem strange to wear jewellery made from bullets, an object created purely for the purpose of destruction. But the Entoto Beth makers show the world how they can turn something ugly and harmful into something truly beautiful. They can't change the horrors of the past, but they can create hope for the future.
Meet the Makers
"I was born and raised in the Eastern part of Ethiopia, Harar. At the age of 17, came to Addis for better opportunities and meet a man who turned out to be my husband of 10 years and a father of my 9 and 5-year-old children. However, life did not continue being kind to us. My husband got very ill. I was with a child in my belly at that time, took my husband and my 9 years old boy to my in-laws. Looking at my husband's health situations his parents suggested that we should get checked for HIV. The results came and it turned out that both of us had the virus. My husband passed away because we could not afford the cost of Medication. I felt like my world has ended. I looked for a safe place to stay and found Mother Teresa's shelter. In my stay there, I and my daughter were treated with medicine. It seems like, after all those tragedies; it was now time for some brightness to come my way. My daughter was free from the virus! This felt my heart with a desire to work and support my family. I started to search for a place that will help me achieve this. That's when I heard about Entoto Beth Artisans.
"This place is my life! It has made me achieve my dreams and makes me the happiest, thinking about how my life was changed after I joined EBA.
- Tizta, Employee at Entota Beth Artisan