For several years, I have grappled with how to make each day of my life count, how to give back to the world, and how to ensure that I am proud of the person I am… I volunteer, donate, educate myself, and strive to be a positive force in the lives of others. But, it is when I come across someone like Shanley Knox, a recent college graduate working to help a village become self-sustaining, that I am truly reminded of how much each of us can do to make a difference in the lives of others.
“In 2010, we met a 7-year-old named Cossy Nakate. Suffering from AIDS, orphaned and living in a small African village called Kakooge, Cossy impacted us in a way we couldn’t stop thinking about. We shared our lunch with her. We started paying for her food every month. But it wasn’t enough. We knew we had to change not only her life, but the lives of the women in her village – and the lives of their daughters after them.
So, we brought home a sack of necklaces, and we started the Nakate Project. That was our piece of Africa, our way of beginning to carry Nakate with us into our every day lives – so we wouldn’t forget her, or the way we had pledged to make a change.
Here at Nakate, we’re looking to put a little bit of Africa – a little bit of Cossy Nakate – into every woman’s life that we meet. That way, when they take a little piece of Africa with them, they can help pass it along, until we all are aware, and we all are working to prevent stories like her’s. Whether you’re someone who wants to buy a necklace, or you’re a designer, a photographer, a woman with a dinner group, a book group, a blog or a fashion show, we’re asking – where will you take Africa with you today?”
Since its founding in late 2010, Nakate Project has grown to support over 20 women in Uganda. Each month, Shanley wires money to the women of Kakooge in payment for paper jewelry that they make by hand and ship to her. She receives no financial compensation. She’s just doing her part to better the world….. I find it (and her) to be pretty incredible.
So how can you make a difference?
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” -Anne Frank