Sophomore Teresa Odera, a native to Nairobi, Kenya, is selling African jewelry to benefit a fund that supports education in her home country.
Proceeds from the jewelry support Sports for Life, a program that assists students with tuition and club sports in Kenya.
“There’s one guy who couldn’t even afford to go to school and now he’s doing pre-med,” Odera said. “He got that help from the fund that I’m raising money for.”
Sports for Life gives opportunities to students who might not otherwise receive support.
“It is through this program that people have come to the United States for the first time and even left their city for the first time,” Odera said. “We want to be able to give them a good education.”
Sports for Life has also helped Teresa with her own education. To receive aid from the fund, she had to meet certain conditions, one of which was mentoring young girls. Teresa worked with some at risk students who made a lasting impression on her.
“You listen to some of their stories and you just want to cry,” Odera said. “We were just trying to open people’s eyes up to what they can do with their lives.”
One problem of particular concern in Kenya is early pregnancy. Through the mentoring process girls are shown alternatives to pregnancy, such as involvement in sports and continuing their education.
Odera is now giving back in a bigger way by raising money for Sports for Life. The jewelry she sells comes from two different sources: a woman who lives in the slums in Kenya and the students involved with the Sports for Life program.
Along with raising money, those involved with the fund are learning business skills such as how to be an employee and how to manage money.
For sale are beaded necklaces, dangling earrings and bracelets strung with stones. There are also a number of handbags for sale. Prices range from $5 – $30.
“I’ve made a little over $100 and I only started this semester,” Odera said.
By the end of the month, Odera said she hopes to have retail in Orange City’s De Koffiehoek & Bistro and Sioux Center’s Butler’s Coffee & Cafe. The jewelry is also for sale on
Etsy.com under the account: DweleDesigns.
When asked how much money she hopes to raise for the fund Odera answered simply, “As much as it takes.”
Jewelry and accessories may be purchased from Odera by contacting her at firstname.lastname@example.org.