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Where Business Savvy Meets Social Responsibility

Kamryn Schropp went to Ethiopia for her summer internship to work with people who are passionate about alleviating the conditions of poverty. “I met people who use business as a means to do good.” 

February 22,  2017

By Elaine Cole

This was not a typical summer internship. As they landed in Ethiopia, Kamryn, Hunter, Olivia, Jack, Cami, Caroline, Eva, Nguyen, Emily and Alicia realized just how different this internship was going to be.  

“They don’t hide poverty like they do in some countries,” said Hunter Durbin, entrepreneurial management major. “You see all status of people in Ethiopia.”

Kamryn Schropp, marketing major, went to Ethiopia expecting to make a difference. “I wanted to put my education to good use.”

The internships were for the Adera Foundation, a Fort Worth-based organization that provides training and business opportunities for women in Ethiopia, and feeding and preschool programs for their children.

“We have this incredible resource of TCU business students right here in our back yard,” said Julie Miller, executive director of Adera. “Our goal is to bring them to Ethiopia so they can see what is working and what isn’t working, to look at it through their eyes and use their business skills.”

Dozens of students applied for the Adera internships. Four were accepted into the six-week internship program. Six others were so passionate about the cause that they went on the trip at their own expense.

“These TCU students have a lot of heart for a global initiative and they want to give back,” Miller said.  “They have been given this TCU tool box, and they want to use those tools wisely.”

In Ethiopia, the students led a design thinking session with the women to help them reach goals, solve problems and take care of pressing needs. They split into small groups to focus on different projects: bakeries, coffee, jewelry, soap and the children’s programs.

Hunter met with college students at Addis Ababa University who wanted to be involved with Adera.

“That’s what we need, Ethiopians to commit their time and interest,” he said.

Kamryn spent her time with the jewelry-making business. Olivia Hartjen, marketing major, and Eva Amble, entrepreneurial management major, worked on the coffee business.

Caroline Mosby, supply chain management major, continues to help the Adera Foundation in Fort Worth by tracking what items are going through customs and how to place a value on those items.

Jack Bosworth, entrepreneurial management major, said he witnessed the difference between providing aid and providing resources for a sustainable source of income.

“Entrepreneurship can do that,” he said. “Seeing those results directly is rewarding and exciting.”

Each woman in the program makes 200 percent above the fair-trade wage. Every woman has a savings account, and one woman has saved enough for a down payment on a condo.

Miller is now interviewing for the next internships to Ethiopia, to help more TCU students realize that their business skills can have a meaningful impact on the world.

“Adera can be a catalyst to help students see that their education has equipped them to think and act globally,” she said.

Kamryn agreed. “It’s amazing to see business actually transforming people’s lives in a way that gives them food, shelter and a community they can go to that cares for them, where they know they are needed.”

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