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SMU student shows an alternative use for soda tabs

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SMU student Mary Ilene Binning helps support women in Uganda through charity work. (photo courtesy of Facebook)

Who would have thought that those little metal soda tabs help women in Uganda?

Senior management science major Mary Ilene Binning explains how the simple task of collecting soda tabs formed a hobby of empowering women. Binning works directly with Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe who’s charity, the Sewing Hope Foundation, sends soda tabs to Uganda for women to make accessories and then sell.

“The pop tabs are collected and sent to women in Uganda. The women sew purses out of the pop tabs and the purses are then sold back to the USA,” said Binning.

Sister Rosemary founded the girls’ school St. Monica’s in Uganda where the Sewing Hope Foundation is based. Since 2001, Sister Rosemary has given hope to more than 2,000 young women in Uganda, who have been tortured, abducted, raped or forced to kill their own family members as soldiers in Joseph Kony’s army. Kony is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a mercenary warfare group.

Since learning about Sister Rosemary’s work Binning has been on a mission to inform others about supporting this cause. Binning finds opportunities to collect soda tabs wherever she goes, even on her spring break trip to Aspen. Binning has gotten her family and friends on board in collecting soda tabs on a daily basis.

“We all have gotten involved. Our sorority even keeps a collection box in the kitchen for soda tabs now,” said Parker Conway, Binning’s Pi Beta Phi sorority sister.

Sister Rosemary’s work has moved Binning and her mother so greatly, that they joined her on a trip to Uganda in June 2014.

Going to Uganda made Binning realize how these soda tabs were actually making a huge difference for these women.

“I was able to see hope in a society that has been terrorized for year,” said Binning.

As graduation approaches, Binning plans to stay involved with Sister Rosemary’s work after college. This April, Binning is going to New York to hear Sister Rosemary speak at the Women in the World Summit Seminar.

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