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Charity fashion show raises money

Posted on 12.11.2013

The University of Indianapolis Social Work Association hosted its first fashion show on Dec. 2 in the Schwitzer Student Center Atrium. The show featured items that were created by  women in Cambodia and sold by the nonprofit organization Center for Global Impact. UIndy students modeled the items.
The Center for Global impact became involved with the Social Work Association through University of  Indianapolis senior Vanessa Alexander. Her father started the organization to advocate for women in Cambodia because of the high level of poverty and risk of human trafficking.
According to Alexander, CGI came to be when a Cambodian woman died of AIDS, not because she could not afford the medication, but because she could not afford the transportation to receive the free medicine. It began with four women who made pillow covers and has since grown significantly. Today, the items, as well as more information, can be found online at
“We are trying to connect social work, criminal justice and sociology with CGI and everything we do,” Alexander said.
During the fashion show, Alexander explained that CGI takes women who are at risk or have been trafficked and gives them new hope. It gives them an opportunity to get out of situations in which they normally would be powerless. SWA members believed that with this event they could connect these organizations, bring light to the situation and inspire students to become advocates.
Alexander said that the organization put up flyers and used word of mouth to get the word out. She said that even with the upcoming break, a good number of students came to the event, but reaching any student is a success.
“Even if they hear one thing about human trafficking, poverty or about advocating, it will stick with them,” Alexander said.
Alexander, along with the social work and criminal justice departments,  recruited student models for the fashion show.
Women walked down the runway showing off an array of items, including satchels, scarves, dresses and purses. These, along with some of the pillowcases and other assorted items, were available for purchase after the show, and many students in attendance made their way to the tables to view them.
While the festivities were intended to be fun and upbeat, Alexander and the other speakers from SWA wanted to make clear to those in attendance that the event was about much more than fashion.
According to Alexander, the show was about a foundation that aims to empower women in powerless positions. She said that it was about a foundation that has grown 10 times its initial size and now helps more than 40 women. Most importantly, she said, it was about advocacy.
“The whole goal is to have people become more aware and advocate,” Alexander said. “Whether it’s for [those affected by] human trafficking, poverty or something else, being an advocate is so important because you are raising awareness for people who can’t stand up for themselves.”


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