Start with a popular school uniform shop, add a country in need, and finish it off with a whole lot of philanthropy. It’s most definitely a recipe for changing the world.
"I think every company should go out and try to make things better for the world," says School Time Uniforms owner, Lou Guidry. "No matter what it is, even the little things, if you can just maybe help a child somehow."
And with that thought in mind, the good people at School Time Uniforms in Lafayette utilized what they knew best, school uniforms.
As families traded in their old school uniforms for new, Lou Guidry and her team noticed that they had a surplus of uniforms that they didn’t quite know what to do with. A thought to give back to those in need led them to the African nation of Liberia.
"…they had so many kids in that area that needed uniforms," says Guidry. " As a world, we need to come together to help everybody else in the whole world."
Enter the Change Agent Network, headed by Eric Wowoh. The group had opened a number of schools in the struggling nation aimed at helping so many African children break the cycle of poverty.
Wowoh says the need in Liberia is great. " We have over 60 percent fo our children who have never had any form of education at all."
With 14 schools started in Liberia by the Change Agent Network, it was imperative that students have school uniforms. And with School Time’s steadily growing stash of uniforms waiting for new wearer’s, the match was a no-brainer.
An email was sent letting Wowoh know that School Time had donations waiting for the organization
"I was amazed," says Wowoh. "I just thought, ‘oh that’s amazing.’"
These uniforms would cost over thirty dollars in Liberia, a nation awash in poverty. The unemployment rate is nearly 85 percent.
And Eric Wowoh, who has lived in Acadiana, isn’t surprised by the generosity of the folks who operate School Time.
"It’s been wonderful," says Wowoh. "I thank God I ended up here. This place helped me to stay focused and to be encouraged to do the things that I believe God wanted me to do back home in Liberia for the children."
The uniforms are in Liberia at this moment, hopefully changing the lives of young people. Making a difference doesn’t always require money. As School Time has shown, supplies, equipment, and just plain stuff can all work wonders.
"I think if a company can just help one kid make such a great difference, even with something as simple as a uniform," says Guidry. "that’s what’s important."