More Than Just Jewelry - The Akola Project

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10. That’s the average number of children a typical woman in Uganda must care for. Often with little or no education, dim prospects for finding healthcare, jobs or husbands to help, Ugandan women frequently struggle to support their families on their own.

Enter The Akola Project. Started by Brittany Merrill Underwood in 2007, the non-profit trains Ugandan women to make delicate jewelry pieces and sells the items in more than 300 stores across the U.S.    

Women who work with Akola can earn an average of four times the local wage, according to the Project. And this income can stretch far, Underwood says, to not only support the women and their own children, but for some, it can change the lives of generations to come.  

“These are symbols of hope and transformation,” she says of the jewelry.

Akola currently employs about 250 women in Uganda and Underwood expects to nearly double that number in 2015. She estimates their work has impacted the lives of thousands of children.

Brittany Merrill Underwood lives in Dallas with her husband.  For more information on the Akola Project, visit www.AkolaProject.org.

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