Thursday, January 31, 2008

Buy a Bracelet, Pay for an Education

By: Julie Hartz

Back in 2004, Andria Sherrow was finishing up her graduate work in Uganda and decided she wanted to give back to the community. Little did she know, she would soon be starting a campaign to help hundreds of orphaned children, and it would bring her to Ohio University.

The emPower campaign sells everything from earrings and necklaces to handbags made by Ugandan women. Spending a mere $35 on a necklace will send one Ugandan orphan to school for an entire year. That money buys the child a uniform, shoes, socks, writing materials, and exercise workbooks.

See the jewelry for sale, made by Ugandan women

How It All Began
Sherrow decided to start the project after walking to a local school in Uganda one day. She saw a little boy who was not going to school, and he told her, “I have no parents.” Sherrow said, "I was standing there holding my 6-year-old daughter's hand, grasping the fact that I'm speaking to a child that was completely without family." Once she found out there were hundreds of kids in the same situation, she decided to do something about it.

Andria Sherrow shares her story

Bringing Her Story Back to Athens
A year and a half later, Sherrow has students from organizations across Ohio University’s campus helping her sell the jewelry and crafts whenever she has a sale. Her sales give 10 women in Uganda full-time working wages, and send more than 200 kids to school every year. If you do the math, that’s about $7,000 in sales a year.

Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity here at OU, helps with the jewelry sales whenever Sherrow needs a few extra bodies. Members of the fraternity were there yesterday to help boost sales before Valentine’s Day.

Brandon Croke discusses the emPower campaign

One of the group’s members, Brandon Croke, said the fraternity helps with sales throughout the year, including big weekends such as on Mom’s Weekend and Homecoming. When asked why he helps out, Croke said, "It's just such a small amount. That we can really make such a big difference in the world. With education it really gives them a chance for the future."

The emPower campaign will be selling its jewelry and crafts every Wednesday before Valentine’s Day in Baker Center from 4:00-8:00PM. If you want to get involved with the emPower campaign, contact Andria Sherrow.

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