The University of Richmond's Social Entrepreneurship SSIR class will be hosting a Benefit for Hope this Sunday that will help fund a sustainable water project in the Dominican Republic.

The Social Entrepreneurship SSIR class traveled to the Dominican Republic over fall break and were able to see first hand how expensive water is and how access to fresh water is very scarce in the Dominican Republic and its different communities, Jama said. The class was split into three different groups: marketing, donor support and event planning, to complete their final project with Esperanza International.

Esperanza International is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) with the mission of fighting poverty, educating and providing sustainable food and water sources to families and children in need according to their website.

Valerie Jama, a sophomore and also one of the main leaders for the fundraiser, said, "Our capstone project was to have some type of fundraising project to raise money for Esperanza International."

"Esperanza means hope in Spanish," Jama said. The fundraiser's website states that the Benefit for Hope will take place from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. this Sunday at the Science Museum of Virginia and their main hope is to raise the $25,000 needed to supply a community with an everyday American luxury that is taken for granted, a sustainable water source.

Miki Doan, a sophomore and also one of the main leaders for the fundraiser, said, "I like the concept of empowering people, you give them the power to help themselves, instead of volunteering your time in their communities."

"We're raising $25,000 for a water project," Jama said, "but it goes through Esperanza [International], basically we're giving Esperanza [International] the money and they are implementing the water project, we already have a community designated for receiving the water project."

Once the $25,000 is raised the water project will be built for the Dominican Republic community, La 40 de Cristo Rey, Jama said.

The gala will consist of a silent auction and multiple different information tables. "We are having different information tables set-up: one all about water, a water purification table, we have financial statistics on different communities in the Dominican Republic because buying water for a typical family is so expensive down there and Esperanza [International] is able to provide them a cheaper source of clean water," Jama said.

Charissa Mubita, a sophomore and member of the marketing group for the project said, "Business with social values is really unique in class options and it really opens your eyes to different possibilities of helping people."

Contact collegian reporter Amanda Minnitte at amanda.minnitte@richmond.edu

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