Multi-colored leather bands connected to a strip of coconut with white symbols carved into them called Yuda Bands are a common site on people’s wrists at Laramie High School after a student recently started selling them to raise money to help a student an ocean away continue her education.
To raise the money, members of the student council set out rows of the bands on a table near the school’s main entrance during breaks and sell them to students for $7, LHS Student Council Secretary Kit Ng said.
“We basically have all the Yuda Bands lined up and we sell them during lunch,” Ng said. “To help our student have money to go to school, we are trying to sell as much as possible.”
LHS Student Council Vice-President Connor Whitman said money from the sales from the bands goes toward Ratidai Maodzwa, a sixth grade girl in Zimbabwe, to continue her education. He said if the school sells 400 bands, then that would provide her with about $2,800 — or about $1 million in Zimbabwean currency.
“Ratidai wants to be a doctor, she wants to have a career,” Whitman said. “(With the money we raise) she might get enough money to go to university.”
He said selling the bands is a more personal experience for the student council because the Yuda Bands program provides information about Ratidai and the council spoke with her on a video call to learn more about her.
“What I like so much about it is, you work directly with the students,” Whitman said. “We Skyped Ratidai … which is awesome because there are projects like donate to Ethiopia to build a school and there are no pictures of the school.”
Whitman said when the student council started participating in the program, several students with their descriptions were presented to them and Ratidai was chosen from them.
“You got to read descriptions and for me there was no particular reason why we chose Ratidai,” He said. “A lot of it was that she is younger, she’s a cute little girl, so it would be fun and more appealing for people to donate, but whatever student (we could have chosen) we have kids that are going to want to donate.”
Today and Wednesday are the last two days the student council is planning to sell the bands during the schools lunch break.