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Belles For Africa raises funds through Miss A Meal program

| Thursday, November 2, 2017

When senior Anna McClowry’s went abroad, she said she was inspired to create the Belles For Africa club at Saint Mary’s. Last summer, McClowry and seven other Saint Mary’s students traveled to Kyarusozi, Uganda, to teach and work in a clinic sponsored by the sisters of the Holy Cross.

“When we came back to campus this year, we became the leaders for the Belles for Africa club,” McClowry said in an email. “Our group raises awareness about the Sisters’ mission in Kyarusozi, Uganda. Our main goal is to raise funds for the health clinic and primary school there. Additionally we want to increase social awareness and foster a sense of community between Saint Mary’s and Kyarusozi.”

Belles For Africa has organized various fundraising events to increase the awareness for Kyarusozi.

“Our group organizes fundraising events so that we can raise money to support the sisters mission and work they do at the school and clinic,” McClowry said. “Earlier this year, we sold some beautifully handmade Ugandan materials, headbands, bracelets, coin purses, etc., to raise money, and we hope to sell some more later this semester.”

Last week, the group raised funds and awareness through the Miss A Meal program. McClowry said the group’s goal was to get 250 meal swipes to be donated from students.

“The Miss a Meal initiative program partners with Sodexo,” McClowry said. “It allows students to donate a swipe from their meal plan and then the money from that swipe gets donated to Moreau Primary and Nursery School and Kyembogo Health clinic in Uganda. … Most people do not end up using all of their swipes anyways, so it is comforting to know that your money is not being wasted, rather it is going to a good cause.”

Senior Megan Shea was one of the eight students to visit Uganda.

“My experience in Uganda this summer changed my perspective drastically,” Shea said in an email. “I was introduced to a whole new way of life during my seven weeks spent living with the Holy Cross Sisters in Kyarusozi, Uganda. I was definitely able to see how much I take for granted on a daily basis. Many of the students in my classes had very little, but were some of the happiest people I’ve ever met.”

Shea said she hopes to encourage Saint Mary’s students to work with Belles For Africa to help students in Africa afford their schooling.

“The students there are so eager to learn and happy to be in school,” Shea said. “Education was something they did not take for granted, but paying for school fees is a problem for many children. It is hard to see some students not receive an education that they deserve, so the work that Belles For Africa does here tries to ensure that students can receive an education that is as amazing as they are.”

McClowry said the Belles For Africa’s work is important not only for the Ugandan community but also for the mission.

“Although fundraising is not always easy, it is worth the process because I know it means a lot to the sisters and Ugandan community,” McClowry said. “Despite our cause being halfway around the world, I find it so beautiful to witness others supporting our group’s mission and wanting to get involved.”

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About Maria Leontaras

Maria Leontaras is a senior at Saint Mary's pursuing a student-designed major in Interactive Journalism with minors in mathematics and Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. Maria used to serve as the Editor-in-Chief of The Observer when she wasn't busy tweeting about movies and One Direction.

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