Blazers 4 Uganda.

Hi e31. friends!

First and foremost, I want to apologize for my lack of blogging throughout the month of July. To say it was a busy month with school wrapping up is an understatement, but nonetheless, the business plan for e31. has been submitted and I am officially done business school! (Assuming I pass all my courses.)

Despite the lack of activity on the blog, I have been working a ton on e31. with the help of others and there are some super exciting events happening in the near and far future. Today, I am super excited to share with you one of those near feature events and how YOU can be involved.

Photos taken by Simone.

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With school out of the way and with much anticipation, I am super excited to announce that I am going to AFRICA for six weeks at the end of August! More specifically, I am going to Uganda to volunteer with a nonprofit organization, Living Hope, which is a project of Watoto. I first heard of Living Hope around two years ago when the founder, Marilyn Skinner, visited the church I attend here in Victoria, BC. (You can watch the same message she shared here .)

While hearing about Living Hope and their main goal to restore dignity into the lives of Africa’s most vulnerable women, I was immediately captivated and knew that I would love to volunteer with them at some point. With back-to-back academic terms and co-ops, I knew that the most realistic time I could go was once I was done my degree. Well, here I am!

I have heard about several NPO’s and ministries that are doing great things, but what stands out for me with Living Hope is their “hand up” versus “hand out” mentality. Living Hope firmly believes that Africa’s greatest resource is its women and that the future of Africa lies in the women as they are the ones who primarily raise the children- Africa’s future leaders.

Living Hope has a 3-E model: Embrace, Empower, and Engage where you can read more about it here .

PLEASE watch the video below which shows what Living Hope is all about.

Personally, I will be helping Living Hope with the launch of a new jewelry line that the Ugandan women will make. (On a side note, the jewelry I am wearing is from one of Living Hope’s previous lines. Isn’t it beautiful??) I will be working with the women one-on-one and encourage them to think beyond working in the business but ON the business as entrepreneurs, so that they can be resourceful and self sustainable. I cannot think of a better opportunity for myself to apply what I have learned over the past four years than this one. (Lets see if I paid attention!)

I am extremely excited, nervous, humbled and part of me doubts if I am smart or experienced enough. What I do know is that I am willing and have an open heart- which is all that God requires, as I know He will equip me to do the rest.

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So now that you know a bit about Living Hope, I am super excited to share that there is an opportunity for YOU ladies to be involved. Prior to leaving, e31. is launching a campaign called “Blazers 4 Uganda” in which you can donate a gently worn blazer that I will then bring with me to Uganda to give to one of the women. In turn, I will be bringing my camera so that I can take a photo of the woman wearing your donated blazer and send back the photo, the woman’s name and her story so that you can see who’s life that you were able to impact. Please note that in no way am I suggesting that a blazer is going to fix any problems or improve the lives of these women as that is what Living Hope is doing. My intention for this campaign is to enable you women to do a simple gesture of donating a blazer that you no longer have use for and give it to someone who can have use for it. I want the Ugandan women to feel proud to wear your blazer knowing that you (all the way in Canada) thought about them and believe in their future of being a successful businesswomen in their local community.

All sizes, colours, materials and brands are welcome. My only request is that they be in extremely good shape as these women do deserve the best.

Blazers for Uganda

So let’s talk logistics:

I will be in VICTORIA until the 26th of August. I am happy to meet or pick up any donations from you women here in Victoria.

I will then be in CALGARY from the 26th-30th of August and then will fly to Uganda on the 30th. I will also gladly meet or pick up donations in the Calgary area then.

Regardless if you are in Victoria or Calgary, please email me at bmartens@ethreeone.com to connect with me and so I can have your email on file! If you do not personally have any blazers, I would love for you to ask your mom, sisters, friends, or any relatives who may. We have less than three weeks before I leave. I have one empty suit case and my goal is to bring at fit 20 blazers with me the plane! I believe we can collectively give more than 20 but lets start with that for now! (I will personally pay for extra baggage if need be).

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If you love what Living Hope is about and do not have a blazer to donate, please know that you can make a monetary donation here . In no way do I want you to feel obligated to and please here me when I say that I would not be promoting Living Hope if I truly didn’t believe in the impact they are making.

I want to thank you, the e31. community, in advance for your generosity and thoughtfulness. Regardless of how many blazers are donated, I appreciate any type of support-whether that is keeping me in your thoughts and prayers as I embark on an exciting, challenging, and eye-opening experience.

I am hoping to document my time in Uganda as much as I can and I cannot wait to share it with you!

Thanks again for reading yet another e31. post and I look forward to see what we as a community of women can do! One of my all time favourite quotes is:

“If there ever comes a time when the women of the world come together purely and simply for the benefit of mankind, it will be a force such as the world has never known.” –Matthew Arnold

Until next time, work hard and be nice to people,

BM Blog Sig