Toledo native returns to city, continues work to empower and educate orphans in Africa

TOLEDO – As the holidays approach, one college student is bringing her passion for empowering children in Africa to Toledo.

Crystal Edmunds

Crystal Edmunds, a 2005 alumna of St. Ursula Academy and current graduate student at the University of Denver, was an intern for The Empower Campaign from 2008 to 2009. The Empower Campaign is a non-profit organization, based in Athens, Ohio, dedicated to educating AIDS orphans and vulnerable children in Uganda, Africa.

Edmunds will give a presentation about Empower and have a jewelry sale at her high school alma mater on Nov. 24. The handcrafted jewelry is made from recycled paper and has been purchased from cooperatives of women in Uganda at a fair-trade price. The proceeds from jewelry sales have been used to enroll 2,000 children and to begin rebuilding a school in Uganda.

The Empower Campaign was born from a simple request. In 2004, Empower founder Andria Sherrow traveled to Uganda to complete her Masters degree fieldwork in education in rural Africa. After a few weeks volunteering at a local school, Sherrow met a boy standing in the road wearing tattered clothes. In broken English, he said “Help me. I have no parents.”

Sherrow walked with the boy, Muhebwa Richard, to the village school where she learned that both of his parents had died from AIDS and the 12-year-old had no living relatives to care for him. Sherrow conducted interviews with women in the village and with their help, she formed the Empower Campaign, which is part of Sherrow’s larger EDUCATE Foundation.

Empower jewelry, purses and headbands are available online at Prices range from $3 to $45. For every $50 raised, Empower can send a child to school in Uganda for a year.


This Week in Empower

New Jewelry

Empower Intern Rachel Orr models new Empower jewelry!

As fall quarter at Ohio University winds down, The Empower Campaign is going strong with holiday sales throughout the months of November and December. Be sure to check out these events for more information:

Empower General Body Meeting
Monday, Nov. 9
@ 9 p.m. Bentley 220

Empower Jewelry Sales
Wednesday, Nov. 11
@ 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Baker Center, 1st floor

The Empower General Body Meeting will close the student chapter meetings for this quarter. We will discuss plans for winter quarter and watch new video footage from Uganda. You don’t want to miss it!

New inventory has arrived and lower prices are here! If you aren’t able to make it to this week’s Empower sale, please visit our sales Web site,, to buy jewelry and get more information about our holiday sales!