BYU grads establish jewelry nonprofit to benefit Ugandan communities

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Ugandan women model their handmade bracelets. (Photo courtesy Musana Jewelry)

Most women in Uganda are the sole providers of their large families and survive on less than one dollar a day.

When three BYU grads witnessed this dire situation firsthand, they started Musana Jewelry, a self-sustaining nonprofit social enterprise backed by Ugandan artisans.

According to its website, Musana’s vision is to promote “a Ugandan society where families have the resources to provide an education for their children and lead healthy, productive lives as active participants in the development of their community.”

Companies like Tom’s and Warby Parker donate products directly to African communities, focusing on social responsibility initiatives. Musana, however, is striving to instill economic stability that Ugandans can eventually sustain on their own.

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Musana gives Ugandan women the chance to support their families and communities through creating handmade jewelry. (Photo courtesy Musana Jewelry)

“Profits from our jewelry sales not only allow women to provide for themselves and their children but also to support their education,” said Linden Baker, Musana marketing specialist and BYU student. “The price of one necklace in US dollars is the equivalent to the cost of three months of primary school in Ugandan shillings.”

Musana is hosting its first annual gala at the Provo City Library ballroom on Feb. 1 in hopes of raising enough money to hire ten new artisans and support US operations. Highlights of the event will include silent and live auctions, a catered dinner and live entertainment by Hudson Lights, a contemporary jazz group from Provo. Popular singer and songwriter Mindy Gledhill will be emceeing the event and is one of many community members jumping on board to help.

“We’re looking for the startup funds to scale our model,” said co-founder and director Melissa Sevy. “Like so many young businesses in the valley, we’re entrepreneurs striving for excellence in our field.”

More information about Musana Jewelry and its first annual gala can be found at the Musana Facebook page.

 

 

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