Have you ever had a moment in your life where you realized that you had to do something to help someone or maybe even multiple people?
For Hannah Blachly and Riley Rapp, their moment of realization came after their friend Kathy Craig invited them to go on a trip to Ethiopia. Craig and her family had adopted a baby boy from the country two years earlier and was taking a team back to serve the community in the nation’s capital of Addis Ababa.
“As we were preparing ourselves for the trip and researching, we discovered some of the terrible conditions the kids are living in and we knew we just wanted to do something about it,” said Blachly, a student at Purdue University.
Deeply moved by the living conditions they learned about before they left the U.S. and those they witnessed first hand in Ethiopia, Blachly and Rapp launched Jesse G. Clothing on July 8. Not your typical clothing line, 50 percent of Jesse G. Clothing’s gross profit goes toward bettering the lives of youth in Ethiopia.
Currently, Jesse G. Clothing offers multiple T-shirt and tank top designs for men, women and children that can be purchased online through their website.
Rapp, also a Purdue student, explained that they chose to start a clothing line because of an interest in fashion and a desire to do something that was simple, yet meaningful.
“We wanted to give people the chance to do a simple act of buying clothes and it (have) a bigger reason to it,” said Rapp.
At this time, Jesse G. Clothing, named after Craig’s son, Jesse Getiso, is focusing on impacting the youth in Addis Ababa and the surrounding areas.
Blachly explained that the clothing line’s name honors the Craig family and also serves as a symbolic reminder of the individual kids they are helping.
Craig, a teacher at Hamilton Southeastern Junior High School, also noted the symbolic importance of the clothing line’s name.
“These aren’t just children far away in another world, these are children with names and faces and talents and gifts. They want to change the world, they want to do something,” said Craig.
Trying to reach as many children as possible, Jesse G. Clothing will put the funds raised for Ethiopia’s youth towards initiatives called Projects. Each Project will last two months and have a different focus such as raising money for food, a library renovation or recreational equipment.
All God’s Children International, a nonprofit organization that serves children all over the world, including those in Ethiopia, will distribute the money raised for each Project.
As for the future of Jesse G. Clothing, Blachly and Rapp plan on expanding the clothing line to include more designs and hope to expand their reach.
“We just want to help as many kids as possible and I think ultimately, our hope is to expand out into Ethiopia and be able to make a difference in the lives of youth around Africa,” said Blachly.
For more information about Jesse G. Clothing, visit jessegclothing.com.
Did you know? Ethiopia Edition
• Ethiopia’s full name is the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
• Ethiopia is landlocked and bordered by six different African countries.
• The population of Ethiopia was estimated at 93,877,025 in July of 2013.
• In 2011, 29.2 percent of Ethiopian children under age 5 were underweight.
• It is estimated that 57.3 percent of Ethiopia’s population cannot read and write.
• Ethiopian Orthodox and Muslim are the most common religions in Ethiopia.
• Agriculture is the base of the Ethiopian economy.
• Ethiopia exports coffee, cotton and sugarcane among other products.
• The Ethiopian currency is the Birr.
• It is estimated that in 2009/2010, 29.2 percent of the Ethiopian population lived below the poverty line
Source: The World Fact Book (cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/)