As a Gamecock, my compassion has No Limits.

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Carolina Graduate Brings Hope to Africa

The dust, smell, poverty and, most of all, women and children touched Amy Woodell’s soul. She knew she had to do something — anything — to make life better in Zambia. So she returned to USC and founded Clothed in Hope to provide health education, financial coaching and sewing skills to women in one of Africa’s most depressed countries. When people ask why, she remembers their deep eyes and says, “Once I saw them, I became responsible.”

Amy Woodell – Clothed In Hope

Going to a blighted village in Zambia wasn’t part of Amy Woodell’s original plan.

Neither was returning there the next summer — or moving there after graduation. What began as a summer-long mission trip with Campus Crusade became something far larger: the impetus for a U-turn in Amy’s career plans.

At first, I just wanted to check it off my bucket list,” she said about her first trip. But the dust, smell, poverty and, most of all, the women and children touched her soul, turning a single act of goodwill into a life’s calling. “It happened the second I stepped off the bus. I knew I wouldn’t remain the same.”

It was a pivotal moment.

The USC retailing major who once aspired to a fashion career in New York City has instead launched Clothed in Hope, a nonprofit organization to help Zambian widows and children to help themselves. The organization provides health education, financial coaching and sewing skills to women in the Ng’ombe compound in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city.

I believe that hope means much more than financial assistance,” Amy said. “By empowering widows through life-skills training, I want to play a role in renewing their confidence, impacting their culture and inspiring women across the globe.”

I believe that hope means much more than financial assistance,” Amy said. “By empowering widows through life-skills training, I want to play a role in renewing their confidence, impacting their culture and inspiring women across the globe.”

Her second trip to Ng’ombe loudly affirmed her plans to move there. “It’s incredible that they’ve opened up as much as they have — my biggest fear was that I would go back and these women wouldn’t feel I could help them,” she said.

Spending last summer with the widows in Ng’ombe “was really cool from day one. I felt, this is where I’m supposed to be, this is what I’m supposed to be doing, and this is who I’m supposed to be doing it with, and I couldn’t have asked for more encouraging people to be around.”

Her senior year at USC, Amy concentrated on learning management strategies she’ll need as well as raising funds to pay for sewing machines and a house where some of the Zambian women can live together. In addition to learning a sewing skill, the women will support one another and learn about public health issues, including AIDS and water-borne illnesses.

With the blessing and support of her family and many others, Amy moved to Zambia this summer to do the work she was called to do.

You can follow Amy’s effort at clothedinhope.org.

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