Organization helps orphans, widows sell jewelry

The mission of H.O.W. includes empowering women, saving children, and fighting poverty in Africa.
The mission of H.O.W. includes empowering women, saving children, and fighting poverty in Africa.
Raelenna Ferguson says the women in Africa have few opportunities to better themselves.
Raelenna Ferguson says the women in Africa have few opportunities to better themselves.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - How can you change the lives of women a world away? A Cape Girardeau woman is trying to answer that question with jewelry. Actually the organization is known as H.O.W. which stands for Helping Orphans and Widows.

It's a passion for president, Raelenna Ferguson as she continues her mission to change lives and forge connections with women here, and in Africa.

"To me just touching the jewelry and thinking about how it came from thousands of miles away a woman in Africa was holding this piece of jewelry and that now this is actually helping to feed her children it really touches me," said Ferguson.

Ferguson says the mission of H.O.W. includes empowering women, saving children, and fighting poverty in Africa. Ferguson says the women in Africa have few opportunities to better themselves.

"If you don't have a husband and you don't have a job, you literally don't have anything," said Ferguson. "This is giving them something."

All of the jewelry is made by African women at the H.O.W. center in Kenya and also in Uganda. The company was passed on to Ferguson by Janine Maxwell, co-founder of Heart for Africa. Heart for Africa is aimed at bringing hope and change to Africa's impoverished villages with some of the worlds highest numbers of orphans and HIV. In fact, all of the women who make the jewelry in Kenya have AIDS.

"It's shocking and it should be because it's not right," said Ferguson.

Jewelry sold here through home parties and online orders goes to benefit the women who create each unique piece through salaries and job opportunities.

"They make all this jewelry and they are paid before it ever gets here," said Ferguson. "To me that's exciting to think this is helping a woman take care of herself and feed her family."

There's currently a center in Nairobi and Ferguson plans to soon open another in Swaziland. Ferguson is president of the company. She says there's a calling in her soul to unite the women in Africa with the women of the United States, changing lives here at home, and half a world away.

"It's not a hand out," said Ferguson. "They want to work. We're creating an opportunity for them to believe in themselves again. You know our mission is to empower women, save children, and fight poverty and through jewelry we can do that."

If you are interested in more information you can find H.O.W. on facebook, or go to their website.

Ferguson is one of many in the Cape Girardeau area on a mission to change lives in Africa. Next Sunday, June 26th, the Living Water event will go to benefit Glimmer of Hope and African Water missions. Tickets are $10.

It's from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Jackson City Park Band Shelter. Southern Brothers will headline that event. For more information you can find Living Water on facebook.

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