Miki Hatton, left, and Oriah Rich are raising money for women’s self-help groups in the Oyda region of Ethiopia. (Contributed)

Miki Hatton, left, and Oriah Rich are raising money for women’s self-help groups in the Oyda region of Ethiopia. (Contributed)

‘It builds a whole community up’: Salmon Arm students fundraise for women in Ethiopia

Miki Hatton and Oriah Rich say money raised goes towards teaching financial and literacy skills

Two Salmon Arm students are using their final project to help change lives.

Miki Hatton and Oriah Rich, Grade 12 students at Salmon Arm Secondary’s Sullivan campus, are attempting to raise $5,000 to help women in the Oyda region of Ethiopia.

The pair have partnered with the charity HOPE International to complete their capstone project. When Hatton was just six years old, he worked with the same charity to raise money for clean drinking water for those in need.

Rich described capstone projects as personal interest or passion projects for school credit.

“We’re working with self-help groups in Ethiopia… They’re run by women,” said Rich. “The groups are for financial literacy skills, so the women can generate their own income.”

Another function of the self-help groups is lending. After being involved with the groups for a while, women can apply for loans. For example, one woman used a loan to buy chickens, selling the eggs for profit. Rich said it became sustainable and eventually she upgraded to larger livestock.

“It’s the whole teach-a-man-to-fish scenario. We hope by helping women that it affects generations to come. If they can support themselves, they can support their children, they can pass those financial and literacy skills on. It builds a whole community up, not just a person.”

Hatton wants to pursue work in the non-profit sector as a career, while Rich wants to become an orthopedic surgeon. They said they value this capstone project for the life experience it will give them.

A ‘thermometer’ that shows how much they’ve raised has been set up online (https://secured.hope-international.com/ui/A379F2F56353740E5861A36CAD0AD3B98/) and donations can be made at the same link. Donations over $20 are eligible for a tax receipt.

One of the ways Hatton and Rich are raising money is through a 50-50 raffle. They have a board with 150 squares on it — though limited squares are left — and one square can be purchased for $20. If all 150 squares are sold, the winner and charity will each receive $1,500.

Hatton said he and Rich are thinking about going door-to-door asking for donations, as well as collecting bottles to put the deposits toward their charitable efforts.

For more information, and to donate or purchase a raffle square, Hatton and Rich can be reached on their Instagram account, @hope4shefte, or via email at mkhatton@shaw.ca and oriahjohnston@gmail.com.

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