When Marian University sophomore and soccer player Sharisse Yoder
met Haitian women's national soccer team players last summer, she was overwhelmed by the tales of scarcity and economic depression in a country affected by minimal economic opportunities, a recent earthquake, and frequent political violence. In Haiti, the brutal realities of poverty are felt most harshly by girls, who are often verbally, physically, and sexually abused.
With the help and support of the International Women's Opportunity Foundation
, Yoder is increasing awareness of the plight of Haitian women, and helping to generate support and fundraising. In the past six months, she has brought food and clothing to the people of Haiti.
"I have always been thankful to have been brought up by a very strong and genuine woman who taught me that the key to changing the world for the better is by helping those less fortunate than me. Of the many incredible Haitian women I have met in my life so far, I am always amazed to see how few of them understand how wonderful they really are," said Yoder.
A large part of her work has been selling Haitian soccer scarves, which are $25, with all proceeds going to the International Women's Opportunity Foundation
. The foundation is a non-partisan, non-profit, all-volunteer foundation committed to improving humanitarian, social, cultural, educational, and sporting opportunities for disadvantaged girls and women.
In 2013, the foundation's efforts are focused on providing critical funding for Haiti women's soccer teams (the country is estimated to have the highest poverty rate in the Western Hemisphere).
Yoder is also organizing a 3v3 co-ed sorority/fraternity tournament which will be held at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis’ Carroll Stadium on April 20.
‘‘I want to involve as many university students as I can," Yoder said. ‘‘Hopefully, this will be part of a bigger process that will be providing opportunities and changing lives."
Yoder is a business management major in the Clark H. Byrum School of Business at Marian University.