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"Stories of Hope" Come to UC

Story of Shea Butter Production Not As Smooth As It Seems

Written By Abby Hansen '13, PR Intern

Womyn's Resource Center, Campus Theme Committee Sponsor Event


Utica, NY (04/12/2013)
- On Monday, April 15, the K. Della Ferguson Womyn’s Resource Center and Campus Theme Committee of Utica College will host Rahama Wright, Joana Teviu and Gladys Petey of Shea Yeleen International (SYI) as presenters in a special  program called “Stories of Hope.”

While shea butter is advertised as a soothing additive to lotions and soaps, the women behind “Stories of Hope” will tell a far different story.

Wright, president and CEO of SYI, Teviu, co-founder, and Petey, a shea butter producer from Ghana, will highlight tales of shea butter production from the mouths of women who spend countless hours producing this highly sought-after beauty product. Female producers are paid very little and are not acknowledged in any way for their hard work, but remain working with the hopes of bettering their children’s lives.

The program will highlight the ways SYI is pioneering change for women producers of shea butter, and their communities. In addition, they will explore issues such as socially conscious consumerism, the impact of globalization on communities, and the resulting opportunities for empowering women and transforming communities.

The program will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. in Macfarlane Auditorium, DePerno Hall. A reception sponsored by the Womyn’s Resource Center and Campus Theme Committee will follow the program in the Willard Conference Room, DePerno Hall. This program is free and open to the public. Shea Yeleen products will be available for purchase.

Shea Yeleen International Inc. represents the issues and concerns of rural West African producers of shea butter. The principals believe in improving the livelihoods of communities by connecting rural communities to international markets in an effort to compete in an increasingly global economy. Through collective community development and support of cooperatives, they bring local issues to consumers interested in learning where their products originate from, and who want to use their consumer power to make a difference in the world.

For more information about “Stories of Hope,” contact Alane Varga, dean of students, at (315) 792-3100, or avarga@utica.edu or Tracy Balduzzi, program coordinator, at (315) 792-3335 or tmbalduzzi@utica.edu.

For more information about Shea Yeleen International, visit www.sheayeleen.org.


Robert Halliday, Ph.D.
Associate Provost
201B DePerno Hall

(315) 792-3122
(315) 792-3006
1600 Burrstone Road | Utica, NY 13502