Selling hope: Fair trade shop opens downtown
If you go
What: Jinja Jewelry Fair Trade Shop grand opening
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Where: Enter through the rear door at Plaza Furniture, 55 S. River St., Janesville.
Details: Jewelry, scarves, hats, baskets and more will be available. Regular store hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
To learn more: Go online to hopeinstituteuganda.org.
JANESVILLE Medical help, clean water and a chance for an education all could be the result of jewelry sales in the Janesville area and beyond.
After a trip to their Ugandan homeland, Janesville residents Joy and Gideon Ngobi in April 2008 founded Hope Institute of Uganda, a nonprofit, fair trade organization.
Primarily through home parties and word-of-mouth, the institute has been selling Jinja Jewelry and other products to help support programs designed to ease poverty in Uganda.
In Uganda, the Ngobis are helping a group of woman who make the jewelry from recycled paper and other sustainable products.
Now, the institute is opening a store in downtown Janesville to make the products available on a more consistent basis. The store also will increase awareness of the struggles Ugandans face every day.
"We've done very well, but people have always been asking if there's a place they could go to buy the products," said Laurie McCutchan, the institute's executive director.
Jinja Jewelry Fair Trade Shop will celebrate its grand opening Saturday and Sunday at the store in the back of Plaza Furniture, 55 S. River St. Signs will direct visitors to the donated second-floor space.
Proceeds from the sales of jewelry and other products help the institute through its office in Kampala, Uganda.
Since 2008, the institute has sent medical teams and supplies to Uganda, and a well was drilled at a refugee camp, giving 2,500 people cleaner water, McCutchan said
The institute has established education scholarships for the poor and orphaned who otherwise would have no chance to expand their minds and grow socially.
"There's been an awful lot of interest," McCutchan said. "People love the cause, and that's what this is truly about: the cause."